Being mindful of what we consume — especially when it comes to high-risk foods — is important, and staying up-to-date on health regulations, protocols and, in some cases, recalls, is absolutely essential, particularly when you have an entire family of whom you are responsible for feeding. Today, 6.5 million pounds of beef are being recalled due to a salmonella outbreak, and this is what you need to know about it.
CNN reported on Thursday that JBS Tolleson, Inc., an Arizona-based company that produces meat, is recalling 6,500,966 pounds of "various raw, non-intact beef products." The issue was first discovered as 57 separate cases of salmonella-related illnesses were linked to the consumption of this meat, and first reported in 16 different U.S. states between Aug. 5 and Sept. 6.
For those who are concerned that meat they purchased could have been contaminated, there's a way to decipher whether or not your products are at risk. The network reported that the recalled products were packaged between July 26 and Sept. 7, and were being sold under the brand names Walmart, Cedar River Farms Natural Beef, Showcase, Showcase/Walmart, and JBS Generic. However, if you are still unsure whether or not your beef has been contaminated, you can check the number on the package. Affected products have the establishment number "EST. 267."
The recall, which was first announced by the United States Department of Agriculture's Food Inspection and Safety service, expressed concerns about not only products that were purchased for consumption, but products that were purchased to freeze as well.
"FSIS is concerned that some product may be frozen and in consumers' freezers. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase," the agency said, reminding consumers that the only safe way to guarantee that meats are cooked at a high enough temperature so as to kill off any potentially harmful bacteria is to utilize an thermometer.
"The only way to confirm that ground beef or other cuts of beef are cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria is to use a food thermometer that measures internal temperature," they said.
The FDA also explained that food contaminated with salmonella can cause salmonellosis, which is one of the most common foodborne illnesses. "The most common symptoms of salmonellosis are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating the contaminated product," the administration explained. "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."
If you do believe that you consumed a contaminated product, Slate reported that the best course of action is to first call a medical professional, and keep an eye on your symptoms. It is important to note that not all of the product being recalled will have been contaminated, rather, some was, and therefore, the risk is much higher. Be that as it is, caution should still be taken.
Afterwards, the site explained that you can most likely get your money back for the returned product, and they advise that you do so. Though not everything that is part of a recall will definitely be contaminated, it is best practice for your health and the health of your family that you follow federal protocols and return any products you may have purchased during that time.