On December 4th, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS) issued an updated and expanded recall of raw beef products. The agency, along with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and various state public health officials, are still investigating a Salmonella Newport outbreak that was first reported over a month ago.
The JBS meat plant in Tolleson, AZ, is now recalling more than 5 million pounds of meat on top of what was previously recalled in October 2018. This brings the total amount of recalled beef to 12,093,271 pounds.
USDA FSIS has reported a total of 246 laboratory-confirmed illnesses in 26 states. Sixteen more patients have provided receipts or shopper card numbers to assist in the product traceback investigation. Specific traceback for three case-patients has identified JBS Tolleson, Inc., EST. 267 ground beef products that were not part of the October 4, 2018 recall.
JBS Tolleson's official statement:
JBS Tolleson has made the cautious decision to voluntarily expand the Oct. 4, 2018, recall of products that may have been contaminated with Salmonella Newport. The expansion includes an additional 5.3 million pounds. All of the affected product has already been removed from retail stores, but we are taking this careful step because some consumers may have frozen this product for future use. Consumers who may still have any of the products listed here should throw them away.
As a food company, our first priority is the safe production of food. 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. According to USDA, Salmonella can cause salmonellosis, one of the most common bacterial foodborne illnesses, which most people recover from without treatment.
Upon notification of the first illness directly linked to product from our facility, we initiated the original recall and immediately conducted an internal investigation led by Al Almanza, JBS global head of food safety and quality assurance, former Administrator of FSIS and former Under Secretary of Food Safety at USDA. Based on the results of this investigation and a full evaluation of our internal processes and controls, we have made the decision to voluntarily test one hundred percent of the beef trimmings produced in the Tolleson facility.
JBS Tolleson, in consultation with internal and external food safety experts, will continue to enhance its processes to ensure the safety of our products.
Meat included in this expanded recall was produced and packed between July 26, 2018 and Sept. 7, 2018. The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. 267” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to retail locations and institutions nationwide. FSIS is concerned that some product may be frozen and in consumers’ freezers. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.
Consumers with questions regarding the recall can contact the JBS USA Consumer Hotline at (800) 727-2333.