There are now at least three reported Wyoming cases connected to a national salmonella outbreak and beef recall, and that's prompting Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) officials to urge consumers to always follow safe food handling practices when handling ground beef.

According to WDH, to date there have been three confirmed and one pending case of illness connected with a national Salmonella Newport outbreak reported among Wyoming residents. There's currently a national recall of 6.9 million pounds of ground beef due to possible contamination.

“Because ground beef can be stored in freezers for some time, people may still have recalled meat in their homes,” said Tiffany Greenlee, WDH epidemiologist.

Health officials say you should follow the recommendations of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)  and cook all ground beef to a temperature of 160°F, using a food thermometer to check. Greenlee noted using the thermometer is the only way to confirm the meat is cooked to a temperature high enough to kill the harmful bacteria.

The Centers For Disease Control And Prevention says most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps 12 to 72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria. The illness usually lasts four to seven days and although most people recover without treatment, although sometimes the diarrhea is so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized.
Children younger than 5 years, adults older than 65 years, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness.

Federal officials say the raw beef, which may be contaminated by Salmonella Newport, was packaged between July 26th and Sept. 7th and shipped to retailers nationwide, including Walmart and others. The beef was sold under the names Cedar River Farms, ComNor Perfect Choice, Gourmet Burger, Grass Run Farms, Showcase at Walmart and in generic packaging.  Consumers with ground beef labeled with the establishment number “EST. 267” inside the USDA mark of inspection should consider contacting the store where it was bought to find out if it was recalled, officials said.

“People should not eat the recalled ground beef. If you can tell it’s included in the recall, return it to the store or throw it away.” Greenlee said. “But because sometimes it can be hard to know if the meat we have on hand is included in a recall, it’s also important to follow safe handling and cooking recommendations.”

The investigation into the outbreak is ongoing, and consumers should be watch for any changes or additions to the current recall.

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