A Systematic Review of Bacterial Foodborne Outbreaks Related to Red Meat and Meat Products

Mohamed K. Omer, Avelino Alvarez-Ordonez, Miguel Prieto, Eystein Skjerve, Tekie Asehun Leonida, Ole A. Alvseike

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Our investigation focused on foodborne outbreaks related to meat and meat products, published in peer reviewed journals in the period 1980–2015. Most of the outbreaks, investigated in this study, were caused by Escherichia coli and Salmonella, causing 33 and 21 outbreaks, respectively, mostly in Europe and the United States. In the E. coli outbreaks, the total number of reported cases was 1966, of which 1543 were laboratory confirmed. The number of cases requiring hospitalization was 476, of whom 233 cases had a hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), and the reported deaths were 32. All of the E. coli outbreaks, except four, were caused by serovar O157:H7. The other four outbreaks were caused by the following serovars: O111:H8, O26:H11, O111, and O103:H25. Fresh processed meat products were the category most frequently implicated. In the Salmonella outbreaks, the total number of all reported cases was 2279, of whom 1891 were laboratory confirmed. The number of reported cases requiring hospitalization was 94, and seven were reported dead. Regarding Salmonella, eight serovars caused those outbreaks. The most common serovar causing Salmonella-related outbreaks was Salmonella Typhimurium. The food category most frequently implicated in those outbreaks was raw-cured fermented sausages. Other organisms linked to meat-associated outbreaks, but less frequently reported, were Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus cereus, Clostridium perfringens, Clostridium botulinum, and Listeria monocytogenes. Issues of the burden of outbreaks, the challenges of comparing global outbreaks, food attribution, and how the meat industry works to meet consumer demands while maintaining food safety are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)598-611
Number of pages14
JournalFoodborne Pathogens and Disease
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018


  • Foodborne
  • Outbreaks
  • Meat
  • Meat products


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