Slovenian authorities are investigating a recent increase in reported Salmonella infections.

The Administration of the Republic of Slovenia for Food Safety, Veterinary Sector and Plant Protection (UVHVVR) and the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) said eight people were hospitalized.

At least 19 Salmonella infections have been recorded by regional units of the NIJZ but work is ongoing to see if all these cases are linked.

Patients’ ages range from 5 to 71 years old and the proportion of sick men and women is the same.

Based on patient interviews about the possible source of infection, the probability of consuming steak tartare in the few days before getting sick stood out. Steak tartare includes raw ground (minced) beef.

Potential source revealed

Investigations point to potentially contaminated meat sold in three outlets by one producer.

An inspection was started which confirmed Salmonella in one sample but it is not yet known if this is the same type as what made people sick.

Fingušt Mesnine Štajerske has recalled two batches of products due to potential Salmonella contamination.

The items have a code of 246508 with an expiry date of Nov. 24 and 246404 with an expiry date of Nov. 22 and come in a 250-gram pack. They were sold in Eurospin Eko, Jožef Fingušt, and Lidl stores.

On November 18, the manufacturer was informed about a potential link between meat and illness. A sample of steak tartare was tested and found positive for Salmonella Enteritidis.

An inspection at the plant of the producer checked the traceability of raw materials and final products, the sanitary and technical condition of the premises and equipment, cleaning procedures, employee health, and the findings of self-control.

Authorities have temporarily prohibited the production and distribution of food that is not thermally treated. Five official samples of raw materials and finished products were taken but results are pending.

About Salmonella

Food contaminated with Salmonella bacteria does not usually look, smell, or taste spoiled. Anyone can become sick with a Salmonella infection. Infants, children, seniors, and people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of serious illness because their immune systems are fragile, according to the CDC.

Anyone who has eaten any recalled products and developed symptoms of Salmonella food poisoning should seek medical attention. Sick people should tell their doctors about the possible exposure to Salmonella bacteria because special tests are necessary to diagnose salmonellosis. Salmonella infection symptoms can mimic other illnesses, frequently leading to misdiagnosis.

Symptoms of Salmonella infection can include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food. Otherwise, healthy adults are usually sick for four to seven days. In some cases, however, diarrhea may be so severe that patients require hospitalization.

Older adults, children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems, such as cancer patients, are more likely to develop severe illnesses and serious, sometimes life-threatening conditions. Some people get infected without getting sick or showing any symptoms. However, they may still spread the infections to others.

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