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USDA confirms drug-resistant Salmonella in beef recall

By Feedstuffs

A strain of drug resistant Salmonella Newport is implicated in a Class I recall of 825,769 pounds of ground beef announced by USDA on Aug. 6. USDA did not identify the exact strain, but said "this particular strain of Salmonella Newport is resistant to many commonly prescribed drugs, which can increase the risk of hospitalization or possible treatment failure in infected individuals."

Beef Packers, Inc. of Fresno, Calif. recalled the ground beef products that may be linked to an outbreak of salmonellosis, according to a USDA news release.

The recalled ground beef products were distributed to retail distribution centers in Arizona, California, Colorado, and Utah and later repackaged into consumer-sized package and sold under different retail brand names, USDA reports.

USDA was notified of the situation as the result of an ongoing investigation into an outbreak of Salmonella Newport being conducted by the Colorado health department, which with other state health department is following up on a July outbreak of human illness caused by a drug-resistant Salmonella Newport.

USDA’s announcement of the Aug. 6 recall said "epidemiological and traceback investigations conducted by  the Food Safety and Inspection Service and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment determined that there is an association between the fresh ground beef production and illnesses reported in Colorado." The illnesses were also linked through their "unusual" PFGE patterns matched to strains in PulseNet, a national laboratory network coordinated by the Centers for Disease Control.

The ground beef recalled on Aug. 6 was produced between June 5 and June 23 and bears the number "Est. 31913."

The Colorado health department, several other state health departments, and USDA, began the investigation in July after Salmonella Newport, which was resistant to several commonly used antibiotics, caused an outbreak of human illness in nine states. Ground beef was the suspected source and among the subjects of the investigation. Twenty-one people were sickened in Colorado, and on July 31 health authorities advised Coloradans to either avoid ground beef or make sure it was properly cooked.  

A complete list of the recalled products is online at: USDA defines a Class I recall "is a health hazard situation where there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death."  Food safety officials are reminding consumers that ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit, as measured by a food thermometer.

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