Another E. coli Lawsuit Following JBS Swift Beef Recall

An <"">E. coli case we have been following has just seen yet another lawsuit. The Chicago Tribune is reporting that a lawsuit has been filed against JBS Swift Beef Company by a Wisconsin family who allegedly fell ill after eating beef that was among what was recalled over E. coli concerns.

A Class I recall of potentially E. coli-tainted JBS Swift Beef Company beef products was expanded this June, said the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), to include approximately 380,000 pounds more of assorted beef primal products. A Class I recall is a health hazard situation in which there is a reasonable probability that use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death.

The original recall was for 41,280 pounds of beef products. The expansion brought the total recall to over 420,000 pounds of beef products. The original problem was discovered through FSIS microbiological sampling and an investigation into the distribution of other products.

Of the three family members who fell ill, one was a seven-year-old who required hospitalization until mid-August, said the Chicago Tribune.

The recall was implemented over concerns regarding contamination with E. coli O157:H7, said the FSIS. Together with traceback information and laboratory data, the recall was expanded as a result of FSIS’ cooperation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in an ongoing investigation into dozens of illnesses in multiple states. JBS Swift is a unit of Brazilian meat company JBS S.A., said Reuters, previously. The affected beef was produced on April 21, said Reuters, explaining that it was distributed both nationally and internationally.

The recalled products include intact cuts of beef, such as primals, sub-primals, or boxed beef that is typically used for steaks and roasts, not ground beef. Some recalled products may have been further processed into ground products by other companies; the highest risk products are raw ground product, trim, or other non-intact product made from the products subject to the recall.

Because the recalled products were sent to establishments and retail stores nationwide for further processing, they will likely no longer bear the original establishment number on products available for direct consumer purchase. Because of this, the FSIS suggests customers with concerns contact their point of purchase. “The contamination may have come from further processing by other companies,” Chandler Keys, JBS spokesman, said, quoted Reuters.

An indicator of fecal contamination, E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium that may cause fatal blood poisoning (septicemia), urinary bladder inflammation (cystitis), kidney failure, and death. Infection symptoms include stomach cramps and watery diarrhea that may turn bloody within one to three days.

E. coli generally taints meat through improper butchering and processing practices and, once released in the body, produces the shiga-producing toxins that have been linked to kidney damage in young children. The very young, seniors, and persons with weakened immune systems are the most susceptible to food borne illness.

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