Sunday 26 May, 2019

Rambharat: No contaminated US beef exported to T&T

Government has assured citizens that tainted beef which was found to have been contaminated with salmonella in the US, was not shipped to Trinidad and Tobago. 

Concerns were raised after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said that a unit of Brazil's JBS recalled a total of more than 12 million pounds (5.44 million kilograms) of raw beef that was shipped around the U.S.

JBS Tolleson in Arizona recalled about 7 million pounds (3 million kilograms) of beef in October.

However, Minister of Agriculture, Lands and Fisheries, Clarence Rambharat said in a statement on Tuesday that the United States Department of Agriculture confirmed that none of the US beef under recall was ever exported to Trinidad and Tobago.

"The USDA has advised that at this time there is no indication that beef now under a recall in Arizona was exported to T&T."

"Earlier today, JBS Tolleson, Inc., a Tolleson, Arizona, USA establishment, recalled approximately 12,093,271 pounds of non-intact raw beef products that may be contaminated with Salmonella."

"The beef items, including ground beef, were packaged on various dates from July 26, 2018 to Sept. 7, 2018," Rambharat said. 

The USDA said 246 illnesses were reported as a result of the contamination. 

The USDA said salmonella is prevalent in raw poultry and meat and reminded people to properly cook and handle meat as cooking kills salmonella.

The Ministry of Health issued a Health Advisory on the matter and confirmed that no import permit was issued for the importation of that product and as such it would not have been imported into the country.

However as a precaution, the Ministry advised citizens to make sure their meat products are well-cooked. 

"The Ministry of Health (MoH) notes that a Health Advisory has been recently issued by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food Safety and Inspection Services (FSIS) and the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This is concerning a nationwide (USA) recall of (Class 1) Raw Beef Products branded as Kroger Ground Beef, Distributed by the Kroger Co. Cincinnati, Ohio, due to possible Salmonella contamination, NO other brands of ground beef are implicated in this Recall."

"No import permit was issued for the importation of this product and as such, no approval has been granted to import into Trinidad and Tobago. However, this advisory is being issued out of an abundance of caution, to protect the health of consumers."

"A Class 1 Recall is defined as a health hazard, where there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death.

The most common symptoms of salmonellosis are:

- Diarrhea

- Abdominal Cramps

- Fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating the contaminated product."

"The illness usually lasts between 4 to 7 days and most people recover without treatment. In some persons, however, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalised. Older adults, infants, and persons with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop severe symptoms. Individuals concerned about an illness should contact their health care provider."

"The MoH further advises all consumers to safely prepare their raw meat products, including fresh and frozen, and only consume ground beef that has been cooked to a temperature of 71°C. Other cuts of beef should be cooked to a temperature of 63°C and allowed to rest for at least 3 minutes. The best way to confirm that ground beef or other cuts of beef are cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria is to use a food thermometer that measures internal temperature."

The Ministry said it will continue to monitor this health concern and provide the public with further updates if necessary.

Members of the public may contact the Chemistry Food and Drugs Division (CFDD) at 623-5242, 800-CFDD/(2333), or the Public Health Inspectorate (PHI) at 645- 4589 or for further information. 


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