Salmonella cases tied to pork jump to 90

Be really careful with whole pigs.

JoNel Aleccia of The Seattle Times writes that the number of people sickened in a Salmonella outbreak in Washington state –has apparently linked to whole pigs – has jumped from 56 to 90.

whole.pig.roastThe U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has issued a public-health alert because of concerns that the Washington salmonella infections might be tied to whole pigs used in pig roasts.

The sharp uptick in cases in less than a week and the lack of a clear source has led state health officials to ask the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to send in a special team to help with the investigation. The so-called Epi-Aid group is expected to be in Washington next week, a state Department of Health spokesman said. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is also involved in the probe.

Investigators say many of the cases appear to be linked to eating pork, or to exposure to raw pork, particularly roasted pigs cooked and served at private events.

The cases appear to have been caused by the same rare strain of bacteria, health officials, Salmonella I, 4, 5, 12:i:-, a germ that has been emerging nationally but has never before been seen in Washington state.

“Roasting a pig is a complex undertaking with numerous potential food handling issues,” FSIS officials said in a statement.