A widespread outbreak of Salmonella infections has been linked to various charcuterie meat products sold at warehouse chains Costco and Sam’s Club. The harmful bacteria has already sickened 47 people across multiple states, prompting an urgent investigation and recalls from the major retailers.
Outbreak Origin and Timeline
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) first warned the public about an outbreak of 36 Salmonella infections across 17 states on January 18th. The illnesses were traced back to charcuterie meats, including salami and prosciutto, sold at Costco and Sam’s Club under various brand names.
On January 19th, the outbreak grew to include 47 confirmed cases across 22 states connected specifically to two product brands – Fratelli Beretta branded products andparm delux. It is suspected that additional products sold at Costco and Sam’s Club may be affected as well.
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The true number of illnesses is likely higher, as some individuals recover without medical care and are not tested. The number of cases is expected to grow as health agencies continue investigating.
Impacted Products and Retailers
The recalled products were sold at Costco and Sam’s Club warehouse stores nationwide. They were packaged charcuterie meat assortments under brand names including:
- Fratelli Beretta: Antipasto Platters, Deli Trays
- parm crisps, parm bites: Parm Crisps, Parm Bites
Consumers are advised to check their freezers for any of the possibly contaminated products and discard them immediately.
Neither retailer has issued a direct consumer recall yet, but Costco has reportedly removed all Beretta products from their stores. The scope of potentially tainted items may continue expanding as the CDC and Department of Agriculture (USDA) probe supply chains.
Ongoing Investigation and Preventative Steps
The CDC continues investigating to determine if any additional products or retailers are linked to the outbreak. Local health agencies are interviewing patients about specific foods eaten and tracing back sources of contamination in the supply chain.
In the meantime, consumers are advised to take precautions when handling and preparing charcuterie meats:
- Discard any recalled ready-to-eat charcuterie products immediately
- When preparing meats, use a food thermometer to ensure 165°F internal temperature
- Prevent cross-contamination by separating raw meats from other foods
- Wash hands and surfaces thoroughly after handling raw meats
The CDC expects illnesses to continue being reported over the coming weeks as the charcuterie products have a long shelf life when frozen and may still be in consumer’s homes.
Stay tuned for more details as health officials continue investigating the scale of this outbreak.
Salmonella Illness Causes and Risks
Salmonella infection (salmonellosis) typically causes diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps lasting 4 to 7 days. It can also occasionally lead to more severe illness if the infection spreads from the intestines to the bloodstream in high risk groups.
An estimated 1.35 million Salmonella infections occur annually in the U.S., with around 420 deaths per year. Food is the source for most of these illnesses.
What Consumers Should Do
The CDC advises that any consumers who purchased the recalled charcuterie products should take the following steps:
- Check your freezer for any of the recalled products
- Discard them immediately or return to the place of purchase for a refund
- Sanitize refrigerator and surfaces that may have touched contaminated foods
- If you have symptoms of Salmonella infection after consuming the products, seek medical care and report your illness to your local health department
By following safe preparation and cooking procedures for meats going forward, additional illnesses can hopefully be prevented.
This story is still developing and further details will be reported as health agencies uncover more about the contamination source and scale of the outbreak. Consumers should continue monitoring recall updates over the coming weeks and months as risks remain while recalled products may still be in household freezers.
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