Cargil Ground Beef Recalled for E. Coli Again

Cargill Inc. has recalled 1,084,384 pounds of ground beef for yet another potential <"">E. coli contamination after the Agriculture Department found a problem with a sample of the beef produced on Oct. 8. This is the second beef recall in a month for Cargill. On Oct. 6, Cargill voluntarily recalled 844,812 pounds of ground beef patties distributed at Sam’s Club stores nationwide after four Minnesota children and four Wisconsin adults who ate the food developed E. coli illness, which is the same strain that was detected to prompt the latest recall.

Products subject to this latest recall bear the establishment number “Est. 9400” inside the USDA mark of inspection. As the use/freeze-by dates for products subject to this recall have expired (dates range from 10/19/2007- 11/03/2007), consumers are urged to look in their freezers for these products and return or discard them if found.

States impacted by the recall are: Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Products subject to the earlier beef patty recall were produced on Aug. 9, 10, 15, 16 and 17, 2007, and were distributed nationwide. Each package bears the establishment number “Est. 924A” inside the USDA mark of inspection.

E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause bloody diarrhea and dehydration. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) attributes about 73,000 illnesses and 60 deaths every year to E. coli. Children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems are generally most affected. Food safety experts recommend cooking any ground beef to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F., or until the meat is no longer pink and the juices run clear. Also, avoid contaminating other foods with any E. coli bacteria by washing hands, utensils and cutting boards before they come in contact with others foods, as well as by putting cooked meat onto a clean platter rather than the one used for the uncooked meat.

After an outbreak of E. coli infections from Topps Meat, which sickened 40 people in eight states, was found to be linked to Rancher’s Beef Ltd. of Balzac, Alberta, United States regulators are tightening restrictions on meat and poultry products from Canada. Unfortunately, these efforts will likely not be enough to stop the ill effects of much of the recent food-borne illness. Other recent recalls include General Mills Jeno’s and Totino’s frozen meat pizzas for being linked to an E. coli outbreak spanning ten states, as well as ConAgra pot pies responsible for 270 cases of Salmonella poisoning nationwide.

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