TWIN FALLS, Idaho – Public health officials are urging people to check their raw beef products for possible salmonella contamination.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection said last Thursday that Arizona-based JBS Tolleson Inc. was recalling more than 6 million pounds of raw beef due to possible contamination, and as a precaution South Central Public Health District today urged Magic Valley residents to check the dates on their packaged raw beef products.

“Recalls should be taken very seriously. When dealing with salmonella, it’s best to just get rid of the meat and avoid the risk,” Josh Jensen, SCPHD public health program manager said in a prepared statement. "It's also important to remember that even meat that isn't infected should be heated to specific temperatures to kill off bacteria."

The potentially infected beef was packaged with dates between July 26 and Sept. 7. The products are labelled with the establishment number “EST. 267” inside the USDA mark of inspection. The health district said restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell the recalled products, and residents should not eat any recalled ground beef.

Salmonella can develop 12 to 72 hours after exposure to the bacteria, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The illness often lasts between four and seven days, with patients typically recovering without treatment. Common symptoms of salmonella include diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps.

So far 57 people in 16 states, including one person in Idaho, have been infected, according to health officials. Of that number, 14 have been hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported.

For a list of the recalled products, click here. The CDC reminds people:

  • To not eat raw or undercooked ground beef.
  • Cook ground beef hamburgers and mixtures such as meatloaf to an internal temperature of 160°F, and use a food thermometer to make sure the meat has reached a safe internal temperature. You can’t tell whether meat is safely cooked by looking at it.
  • Ask that ground beef hamburgers and mixtures be cooked to 160°F internal temperature when ordering at a restaurant.
  • Wash hands and items with soap and water that come into contact with raw ground beef, including countertops, utensils, dishes and cutting boards.