Seneca Nation Health System: Stop The Spread of Foodbourne Illness!

Posted in: Health System

About 1 in 6 Americans get sick from exposure to foodborne illnesses and about 130,000 people end up hospitalized from those illnesses. Ground beef, and other ground meats like turkey and chicken, are processed differently than other cuts of meat. Because the meat is ground into tiny pieces, the bacterium found in the environment is mixed throughout the meat, making it harder to kill. Freezing and refrigerating ground meats will not kill all the bacteria. The best way to kill bacteria that may be in your ground beef is simply by cooking it to an internal temperature of 160° F or higher. This ensures that any bacterium left will be killed and cannot be passed down to those that are consuming the meat. If you are eating in a restaurant, it is important to send back meat you think is undercooked.

An E. coli outbreak occurs when people eat at restaurants or buys meat from grocery stores. E. coli infections vary but symptoms include severe stomach cramps and bloody diarrhea. The first person became sick on March 1, 2019 with 196 people across ten states ill by May 13, 2019.

The ongoing outbreak has caused K2D Foods and Grant Park Packing to recall 166,624 pounds of ground beef.

A Salmonella outbreak sickened 137 people from March 3 to May 1, 2019. Symptoms of salmonellosis are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after coming into contact with the contaminated food. An epidemiological investigation tied the outbreak to pre-cut melons from Caito Foods, LLC.

Many things can go wrong while preparing food

  • Make sure ready-to-eat foods, such as fruits or vegetables, are washed thoroughly.
  • Cook and reheat meat to the correct temperatures.
  • Stop cross-contamination of meats and vegetables by keeping them separate and preparing them on clean surfaces.
  • Not properly disposing of or storing food the right way will also get you get sick. Hot food should be kept hot (between 140-165°F), and cold food needs to be cold (40°F or colder). 

Cleanliness has a huge impact on battling pathogens. Workstations that are not clean can cross contaminate and breed pathogens. The bacteria from undercooked meat can also contaminate other foods on your plate.

Stay up to date on both, food recalls and outbreaks:

Food Prep June 2019