Kapowsin Meats recalls pork after salmonella outbreak

A Graham slaughterhouse that reopened last month after a 2015 salmonella outbreak sickened nearly 200 people is recalling more whole roasting hogs.

Kapowsin Meats issued a voluntary recall Thursday of nearly 12,000 pounds of pork products because they might be contaminated with Salmonella I 4, [5], 12:i:-,the same strain involved in a five-state outbreak last summer.

The recall includes whole hogs for barbecue produced between June 13 and July 15, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.

Kapowsin reopened June 13 after Agriculture Department officials agreed that the company had made necessary changes in cleaning, sampling and processing protocols.

Late Wednesday, officials issued a public-health alert urging consumers to avoid the pork products. The inspection service is working with the state Department of Health and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to investigate an outbreak of salmonella infections tied to the meat.

At least three people fell ill with infections from the outbreak strain of salmonella after eating roasted whole pork supplied by Kapowsin, according to a Food Safety and Inspection Service notice.

“There is a highly probable link between whole hogs for barbecue from Kapowsin Meats and this illness cluster,” the notice said.

King County health officials have reported at least 15 confirmed or possible cases linked to a July 3 luau in Seattle where Kapowsin meat was served. Another woman was sickened July 2 in Pierce County, health officials said.

Dr. Scott Lindquist, Washington state epidemiologist, said tests that might confirm more cases are pending.

This is the third recall of whole roast hogs by Kapowsin in less than a year. On Aug. 13, 2015, the company recalled more than 116,000 pounds of pork, followed by more than 523,000 pounds later in the month.

Questions arose at the time about whether the swine were colonized with the bacteria before arriving at the slaughterhouse, or whether the meat had been contaminated during processing.

“When they were closed, we didn’t see all these cases,” Lindquist said. “Now that they reopen, we see these cases.”

Salmonella can cause diarrhea, vomiting and other intestinal illness. Most people recover within a few days, but infections can be dangerous for people with weakened immune systems.