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Salmonella outbreak linked to ground beef sold in Connecticut, CDC says

FILE - Ground beef is displayed for sale, April 1, 2017, at a market in Washington. Federal health officials said Tuesday, July 25, 2023, that ground beef contaminated with salmonella has sickened at least 16 people, including six hospitalized, in four Northeastern states.
J. Scott Applewhite
/
AP
FILE - Ground beef is displayed for sale, April 1, 2017, at a market in Washington. Federal health officials said Tuesday, July 25, 2023, that ground beef contaminated with salmonella has sickened at least 16 people, including six hospitalized, in four Northeastern states.

More than a dozen people have been sickened by salmonella-tainted beef sold in ShopRite locations in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The agency announced this week it is investigating the outbreak, which sickened 16 people. One person who got sick lived in Connecticut. Six hospitalizations have been reported.

Officials say the number of sick people is likely much higher.

“This is because many people recover without medical care and are not tested for Salmonella,” the CDC said. “All of the people who remembered the type of ground beef they ate and where they bought it reported eating 80% lean ground beef purchased from ShopRite.”

Investigators say ground beef is the only common food people reported eating. The CDC says it is working to identify the source of the ground beef sick people ate.

In a statement, ShopRite says the illnesses occurred weeks ago and that current ground beef product on shelves is “likely not impacted.”

“The illnesses occurred between April 27 and June 16 and that no new illnesses have been reported since that time,” said Karen O’Shea, a spokesperson with Wakefern, ShopRite’s parent company, in an email.

O’Shea said the announcement from the CDC was geared toward protecting customers who may have bought ground beef around that time frame and then put it in the freezer to eat later.

“It is important to note that nine of the reported 16 cases purchased ground beef at different ShopRites,” O’Shea said. “The source of the remaining seven cases has not been determined.”

The CDC says “recent illnesses may not yet be reported as it usually takes 3 to 4 weeks to determine if a sick person is part of an outbreak.”

Federal officials have not recommended a recall, according to ShopRite and the CDC.

“Ground beef currently available at ShopRite is likely not impacted based on current epidemiological data,” O’Shea said.

Salmonella germs live in the intestines of people and animals and can spread through contaminated food, water and food preparation services, according to the CDC.

Salmonella germs are killed when ground beef is cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees, the CDC says.

“Eating raw or undercooked ground beef can make you sick,” the agency says.

This story has been updated.

Patrick Skahill is a reporter and digital editor at Connecticut Public. Prior to becoming a reporter, he was the founding producer of Connecticut Public Radio's The Colin McEnroe Show, which began in 2009. Patrick's reporting has appeared on NPR's Morning Edition, Here & Now, and All Things Considered. He has also reported for the Marketplace Morning Report. He can be reached at pskahill@ctpublic.org.

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