The Grapevine

Ground Beef Causes Salmonella Outbreak: How To Ensure What You Bought Is Safe

Federal health officials have confirmed cases of Salmonella Dublin infections in the U.S. The outbreak has been associated with the consumption of common ground beef. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said 10 people were infected in California, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. All patients share the same source of infection.

“Bacteria isolated from ill people were closely related genetically,” the CDC said. “This means that people in this outbreak are more likely to share a common source of infection.”

Initial tests showed all patients were exposed to Salmonella after eating ground beef. However, the CDC noted the affected individuals consumed different brands from different locations. 

The agency said the strain of Salmonella Dublin was also present in samples of raw beef from several meat production facilities. That means it will be difficult to determine a specific supplier of meat that has been spreading the bacteria.

Impact of Salmonella Outbreak

The ongoing  Salmonella outbreak started between August 8 and September 22. Majority of the cases involved people aged from 48 to 74 years, Medical News Today reported.

Health officials aim to speed up the process to find the main source of the bacteria since the latest infections are more severe than previous cases. One person recently died from the infection in California, while eight other people were hospitalized. 

Some patients also had Salmonella in their blood. Experts said that could be a sign of a more severe infection. 

How to Secure Safe Ground Beef Amid Salmonella Outbreak

The National Research Council (NRC) has issued a report showing how people can safely consume ground beef amid the growing cases of Salmonella infections. The first thing to do is to cook the meat product properly to kill bacteria. 

“When beef is ground, bacteria from its surface are mixed throughout the meat as it is chopped into tiny pieces,” NRC said. “Proper cooking is the only reliable method of ensuring that ground meats are safe to eat.”

The Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service recommends that people put the temperature to 160 degrees Fahrenheit when cooking ground beef. Using a meat thermometer would also help ensure the food is properly prepared. 

Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the food and check if it reached the target temperature.

“From burgers to burritos, ground beef is a staple served up everywhere from fast food restaurants to school cafeterias to homes around the country,” NRC said. “Bacteria are everywhere in our environment and may be present on food products at purchase.”

When eating outside the house, it is important to check if the ground beef is undercooked. The bacteria from undercooked ground beef could also contaminate other foods on the plate and even the plate.

burger The Department of Agriculture recommends that people put the temperature to 160 degrees Fahrenheit when cooking ground beef to kill harmful bacteria. Pixabay