Last week, a new, huge recall of beef added to the seemingly endless numbers of contaminated food recalls over the past few years.
This particular recall, from the world’s largest beef producer, covers over 12 million pounds of beef, due to contamination with Salmonella. The recall is actually an extension of a prior recall, from back in October, and the first illnesses were reported all the way back in August.
The beef producer is JBS, based in Brazil, but with an American branch that initially formed in 2007. The affected beef came from a plant in Arizona, with packaging dates beginning on July 26th. The FSIS, which is responsible for meat food safety, found 246 cases of illness (59 leading to hospitalization) that could be pegged to a batch of beef from that plant; in October, JBS recalled about 3,500 tons in response.
But the FSIS more recently found three new cases that could be pegged to JBS beef, from the same facility, that wasn’t covered by the initial recall. In response, JBS expanded their initial recall, bringing us to the grand total we have today.
The beef in question was sold at various places, including Kroger, Walmart, Sam’s Club, and Ralph’s, with most of the illnesses found in western states like California and Colorado.
Salmonella is one of the most common pathogens linked to foodborne illness in the United States. It can last for months in packaged foods, and has caused outbreaks just this year in products ranging from tahini to pre-cut melon to the more expected raw chicken. Major outbreaks appear to be on the rise, even if the individual number of illnesses is declining; for more on whether there are more instances of foodborne illness than before, check out our article on the topic.
The seemingly greater number of outbreaks hasn’t escaped the notice of politicians; in 2016, the Office of the Inspector General called the slow recall process unacceptable, and just last week, Rosa DeLauro, congresswoman from Connecticut, requested a full accounting of exactly what’s going on at the JBS plant.
For a full list of the recalled products, check out this page from the FSIS.