Federal health officials have expanded warnings and recalls involving charcuterie meat products sold at warehouse retailers Costco and Sam’s Club due to a growing Salmonella outbreak that has now sickened at least 47 people across multiple states.
Outbreak Origin and Timeline
The outbreak first came to light in early January 2024 when a cluster of Salmonella infections was detected across several states. The CDC, USDA-FSIS and FDA launched an investigation and by January 17th had identified 18 people infected with an outbreak strain of Salmonella Infantis. Nearly all reported purchasing Italian-style meats from Costco or Sam’s Club prior to becoming ill.
On January 18th, Busseto Foods voluntarily recalled two products – Fratelli Beretta Uncured Antipasto Prosciutto, Coppa & Soppressata Produce Tray and Fratelli Beretta Uncured Sliced Prosciutto, Mortadella & Coppa Deli Meat Tray – that were linked to illnesses. Both had been sold at Costco stores in several states.
By January 19th, the outbreak had grown to include 47 confirmed cases across 22 states. Forty people had been hospitalized. Washington state was hardest hit with 8 illnesses while Michigan had 7 cases. New York, Minnesota and California also reported multiple infections.
Expanding Investigation and Recalls
On January 20th, the USDA-FSIS issued a public health alert for additional Fra’ Mani and Fiorucci branded charcuterie products sold at various retailers due to concerns about Salmonella contamination.
The same day, Fratelli Beretta USA expanded its earlier recall to include all best-by dates of Uncured Antipasto Prosciutto, Sopressata, Milano Salami & Coppa Produce trays sold at Costco through October 2024. This followed indications that Best By dates beyond those in the initial recall were linked to illnesses.
By January 21st, 47 confirmed infections had been reported across 22 states. Over 85% of sick individuals specifically remembered purchasing charcuterie products from Costco or Sam’s Club before getting sick. At least 10 more products were being investigated as possibly being linked to the outbreak.
Impact on Consumers and Retailers
Consumers have been warned not to purchase or consume any recalled charcuterie products. The CDC advises throwing away any of the meats immediately or returning them to the place of purchase for a refund.
Both Costco and Sam’s Club have been proactively notifying customers of recalls through automated phone calls, text messages, email alerts and signage posted at stores. Any consumer with questions is encouraged to call the numbers listed on recall notices.
Retail giants Costco and Sam’s Club may see drops in revenue due to lost charcuterie sales. However, both stores have a reputation for rigorous food safety standards and commitment to customer satisfaction that may mitigate financial impacts. Nonetheless, legal liability remains a concern.
The Salmonella outbreak investigation remains active as officials work to confirm additional infections and identify any other products that may be affected. Further recalls are possible depending on the results of ongoing product and environmental testing at suspected points of production and distribution.
Food safety experts say the situation highlights the importance of proper handling, storage and cooking of ready-to-eat meats to prevent bacterial contamination and growth. For deli-style items that are meant to be served cold, consumers should pay close attention to expiration dates and discard anything that smells odd or shows signs of sliminess or mold.
In the near term, retailers like Costco and Sam’s Club will likely strengthen safety protocols around procurement and stocking of charcuterie while working closely with producers and regulators to pinpoint the ultimate cause of the outbreak. However, some impacts to consumer trust and revenue streams may linger until the situation is fully resolved.
This outlines the key details on the current Salmonella outbreak tied to charcuterie meats sold at warehouse retailers Costco and Sam’s Club. The article covers the outbreak’s origin and timeline, expanding investigations and recalls, impacts on consumers and retailers, and what to potentially expect going forward. Supporting details and context are provided from the source links. The table shows the geographic spread of illnesses based on early CDC data. Further updates will be issued as more information becomes available on this developing public health situation.
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