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Feds expand beef recall as salmonella outbreak broadens to 246 cases in 26 states

CNBC International 2018-12-04 20:40:03
Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images Trays of ground beef sit on a rack in the meat department of a supermarket.

More than 5 million more pounds of raw beef products have been added to a national recall over concerns about possible salmonella contamination, and the number of people sickened has soared to 246 patients in 26 states, federal officials said Tuesday.

The initial recall announced by the U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service in early October included 6.5 million pounds of raw beef products. The addition Tuesday brings the total recalled amount to 12,093,271 pounds, and authorities say they're concerned it could be in consumers' freezers.

The number of those sickened has increased drastically in recent weeks. Initially it was around 60 people in 16 states. Tuesday's recall marks a more than four-fold increase in the number of cases in two months; nearly 60 people have been hospitalized as a result of the current outbreak.

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The affected products were produced and packaged at an Arizona facility owned by JBS Tolleson from July 26 through Sept. 7 and shipped to retailers nationwide under many brand names. Those included in the recall are Cedar River Farms Natural Beef, Comnor Perfect Choice, Gourmet Burger, Grass Run Farms Natural Beef, JBS Generic, Showcase and Showcase/Walmart. See a list of the specific products being recalled here.

The recall notice didn't provide a list of states where people were sickened. But, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention case map updated as of Nov. 15, at least 66 cases of people infected with the outbreak have been reported in California, 13 in Texas, 42 in Arizona and several states, including Connecticut, Illinois and Massachusetts, have each reported one case.

Anyone with questions about the recall can contact JBS' consumer hotline at 1-800-727-2333.

Salmonella can cause diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever within three days of eating the contaminated product, and the illness can last up to seven days. While most people recover, people with weakened immune systems are more likely to need to be hospitalized.