The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is issuing a public health alert today due to concerns about illnesses caused by Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i:- that may be associated with use and consumption of whole hog roasters prepared for barbeque.

On July 13, FSIS was notified of an illness investigation in Washington. The Washington State Department of Health notified FSIS on July 19 of confirmed case patients involved in an illness outbreak of Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i-. Working in conjunction with the Washington State Department of Health and local health departments, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), FSIS determined that there is a possible link between the roaster hogs for barbeque from Kapowsin Meats and this illness cluster. Based on epidemiological investigation, three Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i:- case-patients have been identified with illness onset dates ranging from July 5, 2016 to July 7, 2016. Traceback investigation indicated that three case-patients consumed whole hog roasters for barbeque from Kapowsin Meats. It is not known at this time if this outbreak strain has any drug resistance; results are pending.

This investigation is ongoing. FSIS continues to work with public health partners at the Washington State Department of Health, local health agencies and the CDC on this investigation. Updated information will be provided as it becomes available. FSIS moved forward with a Public Health Alert because company representatives were not available to participate in a recall committee conference earlier in the day. FSIS is working with the company to identify specific products to be removed from commerce. In the meantime, FSIS recommends the following guidance associated with roasting pigs.

Roasting a pig is a complex undertaking with numerous potential food handling issues. FSIS urges consumers to keep the four food safety steps in mind: Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill.

  • CLEAN: Obtain your pig from a reputable supplier. Have the supplier wrap it in plastic, or a large plastic bag to contain the juices. Keep the pig cold until it is time to cook it. If you can’t keep it under refrigeration or on ice, consider picking it up just before you are ready to cook it.
  • SEPARATE: Anything that comes into contact with whole pig should be washed with hot soapy water afterwards. This includes hands and utensils.
  • COOK: FSIS recommends that all pork products are cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145º F with a three minute rest time. Make sure to check the internal temperature with a food thermometer in numerous places, including near the bone. Check the temperature frequently and replenish wood or coals to make sure the fire stays hot. Remove only enough meat from the carcass as you can serve within 1-2 hours.
  • CHILL: Once the meat is cooked, transfer to clean serving dishes. Pack leftovers in shallow containers and refrigerate within 1-2 hours. It is not necessary to cool before you refrigerate it.

FSIS advises all consumers to safely prepare their raw meat products, including fresh and frozen, and only consume pork and whole hogs for barbeque that have been cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145° F with a three minute rest time. The only way to confirm that whole hogs for barbeque are cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria is to use a food thermometer that measures internal temperature,

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Photo of Denis Stearns Denis Stearns

Denis Stearns, is of-counsel at Marler Clark, earned a BA in philosophy from Seattle University, and his law degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He graduated from both schools with high honors, and won numerous awards for service and academic excellence.

Denis Stearns, is of-counsel at Marler Clark, earned a BA in philosophy from Seattle University, and his law degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He graduated from both schools with high honors, and won numerous awards for service and academic excellence. Prior to being a partner at Marler Clark, Denis worked as one of the lead attorneys on the defense team that represented Jack in the Box against the hundreds of claims and lawsuits arising from the historic 1993 E. coli O157:H7 outbreak. In this role, he obtained extensive knowledge of the meat and foodservice industry, health and safety regulations, HACCP and other food safety systems, epidemiology, and foodborne illness. He is a frequent speaker and writer on issues related to food safety law, administrative regulation, and public health policy.