Why is Food Poisoning from Ground Beef Common?

All meat can become contaminated during slaughter, but ground beef poses a heightened risk because bacteria on the surface of cuts of meat are mixed throughout when the meat is ground. Ground meat that is contaminated can spread germs when it or its juices touch kitchen surfaces or utensils that aren’t cleaned before they make contact with other foods. And freezing doesn’t eliminate all bacteria. The only way to kill it is to cook ground beef to an internal temperature of160˚F.

Recent ground beef food poisoning outbreaks have been caused by both Salmonella and E. coli.

2019 Ground Beef Outbreaks

E. coli O103 Outbreak

A 10-state ground beef E. coli O103 outbreak sickened 209 people, two of whom developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a form of kidney failure that can be fatal. The people sickened told health officials that they ate ground beef at home or at restaurants before they became ill. Investigators collected ground beef from one of the restaurants and tested it. After test results were positive for the outbreak strain of E. coli O103, the two companies that sold ground beef to that restaurant and others – K2D Foods, doing business as Colorado Premium Foods, in Carrollton, Ga., and  Grant Park Packing of Franklin Park, IL  issued recalls.

Ground beef

Ground Beef E. coli Lawsuit Filed

Pritzker Hageman E. coli lawyers filed the first lawsuit in connection with that outbreak. Our client was hospitalized with an E. coli infection after eating ground beef. She was moved to an intensive care unit when her kidneys began to fail and later suffered seizures. Ground Beef Recalls

Between March 1, 2019, and May 1, 2019, 209, 209 people were sickened with E. coli O103 infections. The number of cases reported from each of the 10 states were: Florida (5), Georgia (51), Illinois (1), Indiana (1), Kentucky (76), Minnesota (1), Mississippi (1), Ohio (12), Tennessee (59),  and Virginia (2).

2019 Stater Bros. Ground Beef Salmonella Dublin Outbreak

A Salmonella outrbeak linked to Stater Bros. ground beef that was produced by Central Valley Meat Co. in Hanford, CA sickened 13 people in eight states. Nine people were hospitalized, one person died.

Health officials found the outbreak strain of Salmonella Dublin in six samples of raw beef products from slaughter and processing establishments and in an unopened package of meat purchased by one of the patients.

The number of cases reported from each state was: California (2), Colorado (4), Iowa (1), Kansas (2), New  Mexico (1), Oklahoma (1), Texas (1) and Washington (1). The fatality occurred in California.

ground beef packages

2018 Beef E. coli Outbreak

Cargill Ground Beef E. coli Outbreak

An E. coli outbreak linked to Cargill ground beef sickened 18 people in July 2018.  Six people were hospitalized with HUS, and one person in Florida died. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) discovered the outbreak in September. The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service conducted a traceback investigation and linked the illnesses to ground beef produced by Cargill Meat Solutions in Fort Morgan, Colorado.  The company issued a recall for ground beef sold at grocery stores including Meijer, Safeway, Sam’s Club, Target and Publix. (Also see: Can I sue Cargill for Food Poisoning?)

Four state reported illnesses: Florida (15), Colorado (1), Massachusetts (1) and Tennessee (1).

JBS Tolleson Ground Beef Salmonella Newport Outbreak


A Salmonella Newport outbreak linked to JBS ground beef sickened 403 people in 30 states between August 5, 2018 and February 8, 2019. At least 117 people were hospitalized.

JBS issued a recall of 12 million pounds of beef sold under brand names such as Cedar River Farms Natural Beef, Comnor Perfect Choice, Gourmet Burger, Grass Run Farms Natural Beef, JBS Generic, Kroger, Showcase and Walmart.

The number of cases reported from each state was: Arizona (54), California (143), Colorado (60), Connecticut (1), Hawaii (5), Idaho (3), Iowa (2), Illinois (1), Indiana (1), Kansas (1), Kentucky (1), Louisiana (5), Michigan (1), Massachusetts (1), Minnesota (2), Mississippi (2), Missouri (3), Montana (10), New Mexico (23), New York (1), Nevada (14), Ohio (9), Oklahoma (10), Oregon (1), South Dakota (10), Texas (19), Utah (11), Washington (3), West Virginia (1),  and Wyoming (5).

If you developed an E. coli  or Salmonella infection from contaminated ground beef you purchased from a grocery store or restaurant and would like a free consultation with an experienced food safety lawyer, please contact the Pritzker Hageman Food Safety Legal Team.  You can reach us by calling 1-888-377-8900, sending a text to 612-261-0856, or by completing the form below. The consultation is free and there is no obligation.

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Category: Food Poisoning
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