WNPR

Connecticut Farms Affected By Massachusetts E. coli Outbreak

Oct 4, 2016

"It wasn't the farms that were in common. It was where all these different farms had their meat slaughtered and processed."
Tracey Weeks

State public health officials have released a list of 14 farms in Connecticut that got tainted beef from a Massachusetts slaughterhouse that is the source of an E. coli outbreak. 

The move came a week after the federal Department of Agriculture issued a recall for a long list of beef, veal, and bison from the Adams Farm Slaughterhouse. Farms in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire are involved.

Tracey Weeks, who works with the state's Department of Public Health, said this investigation was the result of good, cooperative work that took what could have been a months-long hunt and reduced it to a matter of days.

"This was initially started off with two cases in Connecticut and our very astute epidemiologists and laboratory people noticed that they had something in common: the DNA fingerprint was the same," Weeks said.  

That means the samples each turned up the same DNA. So they did more digging.

"And what they came up with after asking a lot of questions is that they both had ground beef that they got at the same place," she said.

But then investigators found another four cases in Massachusetts -- same E. coli, but the sickened consumers hadn't shopped from the same farms.

"It wasn't the farms that were in common," Weeks said. "It was where all these different farms had their meat slaughtered and processed."

See the Connecticut farms affected:

E. coli can result in sever stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, and fever. Most people get better within a week, though it can be life-threatening. The key to remember is to make sure that meat -- especially ground beef -- be cooked until the internal temperature is high enough to kill the bacteria. With E. coli, that's 158 degrees Fahrenheit.