Six-state salmonella outbreak prompts CDC warning

The CDC has issued an investigation notice after at least 10 people have been infected with salmonella Dublin infections in six states --- California, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.

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The notice warns consumers not to eat raw or undercooked ground beef and to ensure that beef is cooked to an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees, including when ordering at restaurants.

In addition to the cooking considerations, the CDC said in the notice to wash hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water and any surfaces or utensils that was exposed to raw ground beef.

The CDC believes that ground beef is the source of this current outbreak, but has not yet identified the supplier.

Read the full CDC investigation here.

Below are food safety guidelines for ground beef and the symptoms of salmonella infection provided by the CDC: 

Handling ground beef:

  • Keep raw meat separate from foods that won't be cooked before eating.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds after touching raw meat and before touching other kitchen items.
  • Thoroughly wash countertops, cutting boards, plates, and utensils with hot, soapy water or a bleach solution after they come in contact with raw meat or its juices, to avoid contaminating other foods and kitchen items.

Cooking ground beef:

  • Don't eat raw or undercooked ground beef.
  • Cook ground beef hamburgers and mixtures such as meatloaf to an internal temperature of 160°F. Use a food thermometer to make sure the meat has reached a safe internal temperature. You can't tell whether meat is safely cooked by looking at it.
  • For hamburgers, insert the thermometer through the side of the patty until it reaches the middle.
  • For foods such as meatloaf, place the thermometer in the thickest part of the meat.
  • For casseroles and for sauces that contain ground beef, such as spaghetti sauce or sloppy joe sandwiches, check the temperature in several places.
  • After cooking ground beef, refrigerate within 2 hours and use within 3 to 4 days.
  • When ordering at a restaurant, ask that ground beef hamburgers and mixtures be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 160°F.

Storing ground beef:

  • Refrigerate or freeze raw ground beef within 2 hours after purchase.
  • If you refrigerate raw ground beef, use within 1 or 2 days.
  • Store ground beef in a plastic bag on the lowest shelf of your refrigerator.
  • If you break large packages of ground beef into smaller packages for freezing:
    • Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds after touching the meat or its packaging, and before touching other surfaces.
    • Use hot, soapy water to clean the area where you divided the ground beef, including kitchen counters and utensils.
    • Label your packages with the date they were placed in the freezer and where you purchased the ground beef.

Thawing ground beef:

  • The best way to safely thaw ground beef is in the refrigerator. Cook or refreeze within 1 or 2 days.

Symptoms of salmonella infection

  • Most people infected with salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps 12 to 72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria.
  • The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without treatment.
  • In some people, the illness may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other places in the body.
  • Children younger than 5 years, adults 65 years and older, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness.

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