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Food consultant: Preventing salmonella with recent beef recalls

Posted at 4:24 PM, Dec 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-05 09:03:30-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — JBS Tolleson, Inc. is recalling more than 5.1 million pounds of raw beef products that may be tainted with salmonella, the United States Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service said Tuesday.

The recalled beef was produced and packaged between July 26 and Sept. 7, according to FSIS. The products have been distributed nationwide and include the brands Kroger, Cedar River Farms, Grass Run Farms and JBS generic, among others.

The recalled beef is linked to an outbreak of salmonella that, as of Nov. 15, has caused 246 people to become sick in 25 states, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

No deaths have been reported, but 56 people have been hospitalized.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has investigated twenty-two outbreaks in 2018, automatically triggering recalls. That's more than any other year from the past decade, according to the FDA, but it doesn't mean food is less safe.

"An outbreak by definition is only two or more people getting sick eating the same food," food safety consultant Timothy Moulson said.

The FDA commissioner said the number of investigations is expected to rise as the methods of finding outbreaks is getting better. Even though more than 12 million pounds of ground beef have been affected, that doesn't necessarily mean to throw it out.

"If you want to kill salmonella in beef, you cook it to a temperature of 167 degrees for ten minutes," Moulson said.

That means no rare cooked burgers, and no estimating when it comes to temperature.

"You have your meat thermometers, but you don't go in the top of the burger, you go in the side of the burger. You never go to the top because there's not enough meat. You go in the side, and you get an accurate reading," said Edward Lyftogt, general manager of Mr. Mamas Breakfast and Lunch.

Or consumers could follow the age-old saying, better to be safe than sorry.

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and you're not going to get ill if you throw it away," said Moulson.