2 county residents ill in beef recall

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Two Mesa County residents are among 14 people statewide who have fallen ill with salmonella that might be linked to a ground beef recall.

State health officials announced Thursday that The Kroger Co., the parent company of King Soopers and City Market, is recalling nearly a half-million pounds of ground beef that may be contaminated with salmonella.

Alicia Cronquist, foodborne epidemiologist for the Colorado Department of Public
Health and Environment, said this is the first time the U.S. Department of Agriculture ever recalled beef for salmonella. She said the USDA recalled the meat at the urging of state epidemiologists.

“There was clearly an outbreak related to this meat, and this is a type of salmonella that is more resistant to antibiotics,” Cronquist said.

Six of the 14 people sickened were hospitalized. Mesa County Health Department spokeswoman Kristy Emerson said both Mesa County residents who became sick were hospitalized, but they have been released and are recovering.

The recalled beef was produced between May 23 and June 13 and is labeled with the U.S. Department of Agriculture number “EST. 6250” on the front of the package. It was sold in stores in Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

Health officials say individuals reported becoming ill between June 13 and 28 and purchasing meat between June 1 and 14 from a variety of King Soopers and City Market stores. The exact store locations weren’t released.

All 14 people who became ill said they consumed 93 percent lean ground beef during the week before becoming ill. A partially cooked hamburger collected from an ill person’s refrigerator tested positive for salmonella, the Health Department said.

Officials say the particular strain identified in the ground beef is resistant to many antibiotics prescribed for treatment, which can increase the risk of hospitalization or treatment failure.

Salmonella is a common food-related illness, but babies, the elderly and people with weak immune systems are the most susceptible to being infected. The most common effects are diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever, and symptoms can last up to seven days, according to the USDA.

Kroger has established a recall hotline: 800-632-6900. Consumers should check their freezers for the recalled meat and dispose of it or return it to the store from which they bought it.


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