Roast beef suspected in Omaha E. coli outbreak

State health officials are continuing to investigate an E. coli outbreak in Sarpy County, Omaha, that sickened 14 people — including a 7-year-old — and sent four people to the hospital.

State epidemiologist Dr. Tom Safranek said the outbreak was caused by roast beef served at a reception hall in Sarpy County for a private gathering of 50 to 60 people on March 26.  Safranek further noted the meat was prepared at a person’s home and brought to the event, but he would not say where the meal was served or what the gathering was for.

Despite the sense of kinship and best intentions, there have been at least 37 reported outbreaks of foodborne illness associated with homecooked products and community dinners in North America since 1973 (http://foodsafety.ksu.edu/en/article-details.php?a=3&c=32&sc=419&id=890).