Another ground beef recall. See the January 25, 2013 USDA Department of Agriculture news release, "Michigan Retail Store Recalls Ground Beef Products Due To Possible Salmonella Contamination." Gab Halal Foods, a Troy, Mich. retail store, is recalling approximately 550 pounds of ground beef products that may be contaminated with a strain of Salmonella Typhimurium, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today. The products subject to recall are: Various size bags of ground beef, wrapped in clear plastic.
These products were produced between Dec. 4, 2012, and Dec. 10, 2012, and distributed to a restaurant in Macomb County, Mich., and sold directly to consumers at Gab Halal Foods. These products were sold without a label. Check out the site, "Ground Beef Recall: 16 People Sick From Salmonella In 5 States."
According to that article in the Huffington Post, the USDA reports that at least 16 people in five states have been sickened by salmonella food poisoning linked to ground beef and half were hospitalized. Most of the illnesses have been in Michigan, but a few cases were scattered in Arizona, Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin. The problem is the raw ground beef dish eaten by many Middle Eastern peoples called kibbeh. See, Lebanese Kibbe Recipes : NPR.
Last month, customers of a wide variety of ethnic groups ate the raw ground beef dish at a suburban Detroit, Michigan restaurant that remains unidentified. The federal government is warning people not to eat raw meat. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the cases are linked to last week's recall of more than 1,000 pounds of ground beef from two Michigan businesses. Those businesses are named by the USDA as the Troy-based Gab Halal Foods and Sterling Heights-based Jouni Meats.
The government warns restaurants not to serve raw meat to the public
The FSIS investigation found that there is a link between this illness cluster and the ground beef products from Gab Halal Foods, as well as another retail store, Jouni Meats, Inc., which recalled ground beef products on January 24, 2013). If you're eating ground beef in any public restaurant, be sure to asked the food handlers to cook the meat. Kibbeh nea (also spelled kebbeh nayyeh) is popular all over the Middle East. See the site, Kibbeh - Best Stuffed Kibbeh Part 1 of 2 (Kibbe Tutorial) - YouTube.
Kibbeh can be baked or prepared with raw ground meat, usually ground lamb but also beef is used. People buying meat from a halal store often are the Arabic, Muslim, and Middle Eastern communities of the area who buy from ethnic food stores and prepare ethnic foods such as kibbeh nea using raw ground meat. Many prefer to buy meat from halal meat stores rather than from supermarkets for the general public because the meat is slaughtered in a special way according to religious laws and the customer knows the ground meat is not mixed with pork.
Based on epidemiologic and trace back investigations, 7 case-patients with the same outbreak strain have been identified in Ariz. and Mich. with illness onset dates ranging from December 9, 2012, to December 13, 2012. The 7 case-patients consumed raw beef kibbeh on December 7, 2012, and December 8, 2012. It is not known at this time if this outbreak strain has any drug resistance. Results are pending. FSIS is continuing to work with public health partners and CDC on this investigation. FSIS will continue to provide information as it becomes available.
FSIS and the company are concerned that some product may be frozen and in consumers' freezers
FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks (including at restaurants) to ensure that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers. Consumption of food contaminated with Salmonella can cause salmonellosis, one of the most common bacterial food-borne illnesses. The most common symptoms of salmonellosis are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days. In some persons, however, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. Older adults, infants, and persons with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop a severe illness. Individuals concerned about an illness should contact their health care provider.
FSIS advises all consumers to safely prepare their raw meat products, including fresh and frozen, and only consume ground beef that has been cooked to a temperature of 160° F. The only way to confirm that ground beef is cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria is to use a food thermometer that measures internal temperature.
Consumers and media with questions regarding the recall should contact the company's owner, Robert M. Berry. The FDA site contains the company's phone number. For further information check out the USDA January 25, 2013 news release, "Michigan Retail Store Recalls Ground Beef Products Due To Possible Salmonella Contamination."
Consumers with food safety questions can "Ask Karen," the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at AskKaren.gov or via smartphone at m.askkaren.gov. "Ask Karen" live chat services are available Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET. The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from l0 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day. The FSIS site of the USDA contains the phone numbers to call. Or check out the information online at the online Electronic Consumer Complaint Monitoring System which can be accessed 24 hours a day at this site.
USDA recommendations for preventing salmonellosis
Wash hands before and after handling raw meat and poultry with warm/hot (preferred) or cold soapy running water by rubbing hands together vigorously for at least 20 seconds. Also wash cutting boards, dishes and utensils with hot (preferred), soapy water and clean up any spills right away.
The mechanical action of vigorous rubbing of hands and utensils/surfaces creates friction that helps to dislodge bacteria and viruses from hands and surfaces. Additionally, warm/hot water helps to dissolve fats/foods, aiding in cleaning/microbe removal and can also assist in deactivation of pathogens. For more information on hand washing, go to the CDC site on
hand washing. If soapy water is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Hand sanitizers don't eliminate all types of germs, and not most viruses
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations. However, sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs, including viruses. Keep raw meat, fish and poultry away from other food that will not be thoroughly cooked.
Use separate cutting boards for raw meat, poultry, and their juices and thoroughly cooked foods. Thoroughly cook raw meat and poultry to safe internal temperatures (160° F for ground meat such as beef and pork and 165° F for all poultry, as measured with a food thermometer) before eating.
Don't eat raw ground meat you haven't witnessed being marinated or safer yet, cook all your meat
Refrigerate raw meat and poultry within two hours after purchase (one hour if temperatures exceed 90° F). Refrigerate cooked meat and poultry within two hours after cooking. For recipes of kibbeh, see the sites, Raw Kibbe, People who love raw kibbeh | Yelp, and Taza A Lebanese Grill - Woodmere, OH.
Another form of eating raw ground beef is "steak tatare." But a warning from the government to anyone is to pleasea cook your meat. Raw meat often contains bacteria that can sicken you with salmonella if the meat isn't cooked at a high enough temperature until the bacteria is destroyed.
Some people eating bacteria in raw meat come down with ulcers caused by bacteria in the stomach such as H. pylori. As far as salmonella, it's better not to take the chance eating raw meat that isn't properly marinated to kill bacteria or cooked. Also see the recipe, Pumpkin kibbeh Cambridge, Middlesex County, MA. There are ways to prepare ground beef or lamb that are safer than raw meat.