With at least three reported Wyoming cases connected to a national salmonella outbreak and beef recall, a Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) representative is urging consumers to follow safe food handling practices when handling ground beef.
To date, three confirmed and one pending cases of illness connected with a national Salmonella Newport outbreak have been reported among Wyoming residents. A national recall of 6.9 million pounds of ground beef due to possible contamination is underway.
“Because ground beef can be stored in freezers for some time, people may still have recalled meat in their homes,” said Tiffany Greenlee, WDH epidemiologist.
Consumers should follow the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) recommendations by cooking all ground beef to a temperature of 160°F and checking with a food thermometer. Greenlee noted the only way to confirm the meat is cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria is to use a food thermometer.
Salmonella can cause diarrhea, stomach cramping, and fever that often appears within 6 to 72 hours after eating contaminated foods. Persons who think they may be sick with salmonella should contact their medical provider for testing. Although most people recover from illness without treatment, some groups are at higher risk of developing severe symptoms including the elderly, infants and those with a weak immune system.
Recalled beef products were packaged at an Arizona facility from July 26 to September 7 and were shipped to retailers nationwide, including in Wyoming. Consumers with ground beef labeled with the establishment number “EST. 267” inside the USDA mark of inspection should consider contacting the store where it was bought to find out if it was recalled.
“People should not eat the recalled ground beef. If you can tell it’s included in the recall, return it to the store or throw it away.” Greenlee said. “But because sometimes it can be hard to know if the meat we have on hand is included in a recall, it’s also important to follow safe handling and cooking recommendations.”
The outbreak investigation continues; consumers should be alert to any changes or additions to the current recall.