Presently, the Washington State Department of Health reports that the outbreak of Salmonella infections that may be linked to pork products has grown to 90 cases in several counties around the state. The ongoing outbreak is under investigation by state, local, and federal public health agencies. The number of ill is expected to increase as the investigation continues.
With the increase in cases, state health officials have asked the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to send a special team to help with the investigation. Disease investigators are searching for possible exposure sources from farm to table. An apparent link to pork consumption or contamination from raw pork is the strongest lead, though no specific source has yet been found. The likely source of exposure for some of the ill people appears to have been whole roasted pigs, cooked and served at private events.
The cases, many of which are in King County, appear to have been caused by the same rare strain of Salmonella bacteria, health officials said. The outbreak is linked to Salmonella I, 4, 5, 12:i:-, a germ that has been emerging nationally but has never before been seen in Washington state.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a public health alert due to concerns about illnesses caused by Salmonella that may be associated with pork products, specifically whole pigs used for pig roasts.
FSIS was notified of Salmonella I 4,,12:i- illness clusters (groups of illnesses) on July 15, 2015. FSIS suspects that there is a link between the illnesses associated with whole pigs used for pig roasts and eight illness clusters based on information gathered in conjunction with the Washington State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Case-patients have been identified in Washington with illness onset dates ranging from April 25, 2015 to July 21, 2015.
This investigation is ongoing. FSIS continues to work with the Washington State Department of Health and the CDC on this investigation. Updated information will be provided as it becomes available.
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 several places. 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 items, and only consume pork products (such as pork roast or tenderloin) 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 pigs are cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria is to use a food thermometer that measures internal temperature, http://1.usa.gov/1cDxcDQ.
Consumption of food contaminated with Salmonella can cause salmonellosis, one of the most common bacterial foodborne illnesses. The most common symptoms of salmonellosis are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after exposure to the organism. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days. Most people recover without treatment. In some persons, however, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. Older adults, infants, and persons with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop a severe illness. Individuals concerned about an illness should contact their health care provider.
Salmonella: Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Salmonella outbreaks. The Salmonella lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Salmonella and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $600 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation. Our Salmonella lawyers have litigated Salmonella cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as cantaloupe, tomatoes, ground turkey, salami, sprouts, cereal, peanut butter, and food served in restaurants. The law firm has brought Salmonella lawsuits against such companies as Cargill, ConAgra, Peanut Corporation of America, Sheetz, Taco Bell, Subway and Wal-Mart.
If you or a family member became ill with a Salmonella infection, including Reactive Arthritis or Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Salmonella attorneys for a free case evaluation.