More than 6.5 million pounds of beef have been recalled due to possible salmonella contamination after dozens of people became ill in several states.
What are the details?
The United States Department of Agriculture Food and Safety Inspection Service issued an alert Thursday, announcing the recall by Arizona-based JBS Tolleson, Inc. Using store receipts from case-patients, the agency was able to trace the potentially contaminated products to the Tolleson plant.
After being notified of an investigation into Salmonella Newport illnesses, the USDA identified 57 people from 16 states who became sick with illness onset dates between Aug. 5 and Sept. 6. The USDA considers this a Class I Recall, meaning it is "a health hazard situation where there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death."
The recalled products are labelled under the brand names Cedar River Farms, Wal-Mart, Gourmet Burger, Grass Run Farms Natural, Showcase and JBS Generic, and have been distributed nationwide. Packaging dates range from July 26 to Sept. 7, and the USDA is concerned that many consumers have the contaminated meat in their freezers.
All the products under this recall have "EST.267" stamped inside the USDA mark of inspection. Anyone who finds they have the recalled beef is urged not to eat it, but to throw it away or return it to the store where it was purchased.
JBS Tolleson, Inc. is part of JBS USA, which is the largest cattle feeder in the world and a major beef processor. The company employs more than 78,000 people and operates over 100 facilities in the United States, Australia, Canada, Puerto Rico and Mexico.
JBS USA is a U.S. division of Brazilian-based JBS SA, and Reuters reported that its shares dropped 5 percent on the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange after news of the recall hit on Thursday.
JBS said in a statement, "We are working in close partnership with USDA to make sure all potentially impacted product is removed from stores and homes."
While salmonella is a common bacterial food-borne illness, it can lead to hospitalization or death. Symptoms typically arise within 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food, and include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever. Usually, the illness lasts anywhere from four to seven days.