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What to know about the recent salmonella outbreak

Illustration for article titled What to know about the recent salmonella outbreak
Photo: Wavebreakmedia (iStock)

We’re kicking the week off with a little food safety PSA: In August and September, 10 people across six states were infected with Salmonella Dublin, eight of whom were hospitalized and one of whom died. Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the infections were linked to ground beef, though “a single, common supplier of ground beef has not been identified.” No need to trash all your beef, though.

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First things first: It’s still safe to eat ground beef. Epidemiologists haven’t yet identified a specific supplier linked to the infections, and retailers still have the go-ahead to sell it. That said, this recent string of infections is a good reminder to cook and consume meat in the safest way possible. The CDC highly recommends you:

  1. Don’t eat raw beef.
  2. Don’t eat undercooked beef.
  3. Specifically, don’t eat beef with an internal temperature under 160°F.
  4. Wash! Your! Hands! (For at least 20 seconds after handling raw meat.)
  5. Don’t put raw meat near your eyes either. Ew.

This outbreak is a good reminder to stay out of the “Danger Zone” of uncooked foods. That’s what the U.S. Department of Agriculture calls between 40° and 140°F—it’s the range in which bacteria can grow most rapidly, putting whoever eats it at risk of infection. To read material that makes you seriously reconsider your leftover reheating habits, click here.

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Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be spending the rest of the day browsing meat thermometers on Amazon.

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DISCUSSION

These outbreaks tend to be traced back to factory plants where one sick cow, ground up in giant vats, can infect the dozens of cows that are ground with it. Avoid pre-packaged beef.

If you buy your meat from a butcher, the chance of getting sick is a lot less than getting run off the road by a texting driver. I’m off to have a nice rare burger.