The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this week said it is investigating a salmonella outbreak linked to ground beef purchased at ShopRite stores in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York.
Sixteen people in four states have fallen ill and six have been hospitalized by the bacteria that causes diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps. The CDC said the number of people who’ve been sickened by the outbreak is likely higher since most people recover without treatment in less than a week and they likely wouldn’t have reported the illness.
The illnesses began on April 27 and none have been reported since June 16, according to the agency.
Given that timeline, it is likely the ground beef currently available at ShopRite does not contain salmonella “based on current epidemiological data,” Karen O’Shea, spokesperson for parent company Wakefern Food Corp., said in a statement to WGB.
“The purpose of the CDC announcement was to ensure that customers who may have purchased ground beef product in or around the April 27 to June 16 time frame and may still have product in their freezers are aware of the situation,” O’Shea said. “The CDC’s investigation is ongoing, and the USDA has not recommended a recall.”
Of the 14 people interviewed by the CDC in the outbreak, nine reported eating ground beef purchased from ShopRite and seven people remembered buying 80% lean ground beef. Two people recalled buying ground beef products from ShopRite but could not recall the type of ground beef.
Public health investigators are working to determine the source of the problematic ground beef, the CDC said, adding that ground beef should always be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees before consumption.
It can take three to four weeks to determine if a sick person is part of an outbreak, the CDC said.
The 16 people sickened range in age from 0 to 97, the CDC said, and 19% are under five years old. Young children and older adults, as well as those with weakened immune systems may experience more severe illness after ingesting something contaminated with salmonella, the CDC said.