A salmonella outbreak linked to lean ground beef sold in ShopRite stores in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York has left 16 people sick, including six who were hospitalized, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Ground beef that was labeled 80 percent lean was the only common food that the people who became ill in the outbreak reported eating. Investigators are working to identify the source of the ground beef, the agency said in a release. One person also reported salmonella illness in Massachusetts, and the outbreak may not be limited to the states with known cases, the C.D.C. said.
Nine of the 16 people who reported being ill purchased ground beef from different ShopRites, and the source of the remaining seven cases has not been determined, ShopRite said in a statement.
The illnesses occurred between April 27 and June 16, and no new illnesses have been reported since then. Ground beef is still available at ShopRite, and the U.S. Agriculture Department has not recommended a recall, ShopRite said.
It’s not uncommon for ground beef to be associated with salmonella bacteria, which can cause diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps. Salmonella germs live in the intestines of people and animals and can be spread through contaminated water, food and the surfaces where food is prepared.
Salmonella is killed when beef is cooked to 160 degrees Fahrenheit, and eating undercooked ground beef can make people sick.
It’s not just uncooked or undercooked meat that is susceptible to contamination; over the last few years, salmonella outbreaks have also been tied to produce and vegetables.
Red onions grown in California were linked to an outbreak affecting more than 640 people in 43 states in the United States and Canada. The outbreak was connected to products shipped from May to August of 2020, and cases continued to surface into the fall of 2021.
In 2018, a salmonella outbreak was linked to precut melons from a food distributor in Indiana, prompting the recall of products in eight states.