Next time you cruise through the meat section of the supermarket, you may be asking: “Where’s the beef?” More than 5 million pounds of it is being recalled due to a salmonella outbreak that has sickened hundreds. On December 4, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service issued an expansion to an earlier recall from October, adding beef sold to Kroger and other retailers.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 246 people in 25 states have been sickened by raw beef distributed by JBS in Tolleson, Arizona, since the outbreak began. Fifty-nine people have been hospitalized, but there are no reported deaths.
In addition to products listed in the original recall, the USDA is now warning consumers not to eat any of the items on a very long list of potentially poisonous meat branded “Generic JBS,” “Kroger,” and “Laura’s Lean.” All were produced and packaged from July 26, 2018, to September 7, 2018, and were shipped to more than 100 chain and local retailers nationwide.
A statement from JBS indicates that all of the affected products have been removed from store shelves already, but there are worries that consumers may have frozen some for future use prior to the recall announcement. Consumers should check their freezers for raw, non-steak beef items bearing the establishment number “EST. 267,” which is typically found inside the USDA mark of inspection. If you do have these items in your possession, throw them away or bring them back to their place of purchase for a refund.
Consumers who consume the beef could contract salmonella and experience stomach cramping and diarrhea. Most recover within four to seven days without treatment, but children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems could experience more severe symptoms.
“As a food company, our first priority is the safe production of food,” the JBS statement reads. “While no products in this expansion have been definitively linked to any illness, we have determined in consultation with USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) that this action is in the best interests of public health.”
The Daily Meal has reached out to Kroger for comment.
This year, people have been sickened by romaine, eggs, Kellogg’s Honey Smacks and so much more. In combination with the initial notice this fall, JBS has now recalled a grand total of 12,093,271 pounds of raw beef product, making it even bigger than some of the other biggest food recalls of 2018.