The number of people who have been sickened in a 10-state E. coli outbreak linked to ground beef has grown to 196 cases. According to a USA Today news report, that includes 28 hospitalizations. The total number of cases has also gone up from 177 people in 10 states the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported on April 26. The CDC as well as the U.S. Department of Agriculture are investigating the E. Coli O101 infections that have been linked to ground beef.
Serious Health Issues Reported
CDC’s most recent data shows that Kentucky has the most cases (69) followed by Tennessee (55) and Georgia (49). Officials say those who became sick purchased ground beef from a number of different grocery stores and restaurants. Many people who were ill bought large trays or chubs of ground beef from grocery stores and used the meat to make dishes such as spaghetti sauce and sloppy joe.
The victims range from infants under 1 to 84 with a median age of 19. About 52 percent of the victims are female. Two of the victims were diagnosed with hemolytic uremic syndrome, which is a serious condition that could lead to life-threatening kidney failure. This strain of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli causes people to become sick three to four days after consuming the tainted food. The symptoms, which usually last five to seven days include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea that is often bloody and vomiting.
There are a number of precautions consumers can take to prevent food poisoning as a result of consuming ground beef. It is important that you thaw ground beef on a plate on the lowest shelf of the refrigerator so it doesn’t drip onto other foods and contaminate them. Keep raw and ready-to-eat meats separate. Wash hands well before and after you handle raw ground beef. Be sure to wash cutting boards, bowls and utensils that are used to prepare raw ground beef with hot soapy water and rinse well.
If you’d like to take an additional step, a solution made from one teaspoon of unscented chlorine bleach in one quart of water can be used to sanitize the clean kitchen tools. It is also a good idea to use separate plates to carry ground beef patties to the cooking area and cooked meat to the serving area. Use a cooking thermometer to make sure ground beef reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you or a loved one has been sickened by a defective food product, contact an experienced food poisoning lawyer to find out how you can secure compensation for your damages and losses.