Departments of Consumer Protection and Public Health remind residents to practice proper food safety following salmonella outbreak
HARTFORD — The Department of Consumer Protection Food and Standards Division and the Department of Public Health are reminding the public to follow proper food safety practices after reports that more than a dozen people have become sickened by salmonella-tainted ground beef sold in ShopRite locations in Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working to identify the source of the contaminated ground beef. Ground beef is the only common food people reported eating.
“Practicing proper food safety, including storing your food appropriately, avoiding cross-contamination by washing cutting boards and utensils after they come in contact with raw meat, washing your hands regularly and cooking your food to a safe temperature are just some of the things you can do to reduce the risk of food-borne illness,” said Consumer Protection Commissioner Bryan T. Cafferelli. “Salmonella infections can be serious, so if you feel sick seek medical attention immediately.”
“If you experience symptoms like diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps, or vomiting after consuming ground beef or any other food, seek medical attention promptly,” said Connecticut Department of Public Health Commissioner Manisha Juthani, MD. “Salmonella infections can be serious, especially for vulnerable populations such as young children, the elderly, and individuals with weakened immune systems.”
To reduce the risk of Salmonella infection from ground beef, follow these safety measures:
- Buy from a reputable source: Purchase ground beef from reputable stores or butchers with good food safety practices.
- Check the expiration date: Always check the “sell by” or “use by” date on the packaging to ensure the meat is fresh.
- Store properly: Keep ground beef refrigerated at 41°F (4°C) or below until you are ready to use it. Use it within a couple of days or freeze it for longer storage.
- Avoid cross-contamination: Use separate cutting boards and utensils for raw meat and other food items. Wash your hands, utensils, and surfaces thoroughly after handling raw ground beef.
- Cook to a safe temperature: Cooking ground beef to a safe internal temperature is essential to kill harmful bacteria like Salmonella. The USDA recommends cooking ground beef to an internal temperature of 160°F (71°C). Use a food thermometer to check the temperature.
- Reheat properly: If you have leftover cooked ground beef, ensure it is reheated to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) before consumption.
- Practice good hygiene: Wash your hands with soap and water before and after handling raw ground beef.
If you suspect that ground beef or any other food may be contaminated with Salmonella or any other harmful bacteria, it is best to discard it to avoid the risk of foodborne illness. If you suspect the food was contaminated when you bought it, return to the point of purchase to seek a refund.