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Food Poison Journal Food Poisoning Outbreaks and Litigation: Surveillance and Analysis

Raw beef Salmonella in Michigan: is there a history here?

Raw ground beef and Salmonella would seem to go hand in hand.  Recent history is replete with outbreaks of Salmonella linked to ground beef, mostly the cooked variety (see Marler Clark’s outbreakdatabase.com for a historical listing of ground beef salmonella outbreaks).  Nonetheless, raw beef kibbeh (an Arab dish made with bulghur, minced onions, and raw red meat) caused at least seven Salmonella Typhimurium illnesses in Michigan and Arizona residents recently.  Jouni Meats, Inc., a Sterling Heights, Michigan retail store, recalled 500 pounds of ground beef products produced between Dec. 4, 2012, and Dec. 9, 2012, and distributed to a restaurant in Macomb County, Mich., and sold directly to consumers at Jouni Meats, Inc. The products were sold without a label.

So what is Michigan’s ground beef Salmonella history?  No prior kibbeh outbreaks, and surprisingly few Michigan residents have been sickened by the dangerous, though pretty common, combination of ground beef and salmonella, according to www.outbreakdatabase.com.

In 2002, Salmonella Newport contaminated ground beef was blamed for an outbreak that occurred in five states, including Michigan. The Salmonella Newport was resistant to many antibiotics. Exposure to raw, or undercooked, ground beef was epidemiologically linked to illness. A consumer sample of ground beef was found to be contaminated with the same Salmonella Newport strain that had been identified in the stool of case-patients. A traceback by the federal Food Safety Inspection Service discovered that the same meat packing plant supplied the beef. Some of the case patients had purchased their ground beef through the Wegmans Food Markets store chain.