Consumers in the United States continue to eat raw or undercooked foods of animal origin despite public health warnings following several well-publicized outbreaks. We investigated an outbreak of Salmonella serotype Typhimurium infection in 158 patients in Wisconsin during the 1994 Christmas holiday period. To determine the vehicle and source of the outbreak, we conducted cohort and case-control studies, and environmental investigations in butcher shop A. Eating raw ground beef purchased from butcher shop A was the only item significantly associated with illness [cohort study: relative risk=5·8, 95% confidence interval (CI)=1·5–21·8; case control study: odds ratio=46·2, 95% CI=3·8–2751]. Inadequate cleaning and sanitization of the meat grinder in butcher shop A likely resulted in sustained contamination of ground beef during an 8-day interval. Consumer education, coupled with hazard reduction efforts at multiple stages in the food processing chain, will continue to play an important role in the control of foodborne illness.
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