Monday, June 30, 2008

Ground Beef Outbreak Update

Both Ohio and Michigan have posted updated information on the E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that has affected both states and led to the recall last week of ground beef by The Kroger Company. Neither the company nor USDA has yet revealed the source of the beef sold in the Kroger supermarkets in Michigan and Northern Ohio.

Michigan reports that, as of June 27th, 17 residents of the state have been infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7. Ohio has confirmed 18 cases of E. coli O157:H7, and is investigating an additional four cases. According to the CDC's most recent update, posted on June 26th, 17 people have been hospitalized in Ohio and Michigan as a result of the E. coli O157:H7 outbreak, including one who experienced kidney failure.

A lawsuit has already been filed on behalf of one of the Ohio outbreak victims. According to Bill Marler, his client purchased ground beef from Kroger's on June 4th, and cooked and consumed it that same day. She began to feel ill on June 8th, was hospitalized on June 10th, and released on June 12th. While in hospital, she tested positive for E. coli O157:H7.

This outbreak is a reminder to always handle raw meat and poultry with care, and to cook meat thoroughly. Hamburgers and other ground meat dishes should be cooked until the internal temperature has reached at least 160ºF throughout. For information on how to safely navigate the summer barbecue season, read the USDA Fact Sheet, Barbecue and Food Safety.

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