Unsafe Safeway products: salmonella-contaminated beef sold in US

By Margarita Snegireva. The Agriculture Department report says that fresh beef products infected with multi-drug resistant Salmonella may have been ground and later sold at Safeway Inc stores in five states.

USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service said the products were sold at supermarket chain Safeway Inc in Arizona , California , Hawaii , Nevada and New Mexico between September 19 and November 5, 2007, Reuters reports. 

"This alert is being issued after an exhaustive and continuing investigation whereby FSIS could not identify specific establishments, lots and products that would be subject to a recall," the agency said.

Salmonella is a Gram-negative bacterium. In a clinical laboratory, it is usually isolated on MacConkey agar, XLD agar, XLT agar, DCA agar, or Önöz agar. Because they cause intestinal infections and are greatly outnumbered by the bacteria normally found in the healthy bowel, primary isolation requires the use of a selective medium, so use of a relatively non-selective medium such as CLED agar is not often practiced.

Disease-causing Salmonella species have recently been re-classified into a single species, Salmonella enterica, which has numerous serovars. Salmonella Typhi causes typhoid fever. Other salmonellae are frequent causes of foodborne illness, especially from poultry and raw eggs and more generally from food that has been cooked or frozen and not eaten straight away. While these infections would normally only require a treatment of antibiotics, if not resolved naturally, the long-term usage of antibiotics in both the poultry and beef industries may have created a strain of salmonella which is potentially resistant to antibiotics.

Salmonellosis can also be caught by handling reptiles, such as iguanas or turtles. A CDC study also noted cases of salmonellosis in 2003 and 2004 associated with handling commercially distributed pet rodents.

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