E. coli Beef Pattie Recall Expanded

The Columbus Meat Market recall of approximately 200 pounds of <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/food_poisoning">ground beef patties that might have been contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 has been expanded. The original recall involved patties produced on December 27th and has now been expanded to include patties produced on December 29, December 30. December 31, and January 3, said The Associated Press (AP).

The expansion added 580 pounds of beef patties to the original recall of 200 pounds, the AP said. According to the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA), Columbus Meat expanded the recall following a discovery by state inspectors that the same batch of contaminated beef was used to produce beef patties on more than just one day, said the AP. Contamination was discovered through IDOA microbiological sampling, which confirmed a positive result for E. coli O157:H7.

The IDOA said that a sampling of the patties tested positive for E. coli O157: H7, which is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration and, in the most severe cases, kidney failure. The very young, seniors, and persons with weak immune systems are the most susceptible to food-borne illnesses.

To date, IDOA and the company have received no reports of illnesses associated with consumption of these products. Individuals concerned about an illness should contact a physician.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced that about 48 million people—one in six Americans—get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die annually from food borne diseases. CDC figures also indicate that 2,000 Americans are hospitalized, with about 60 dying, as a direct result of E. coli infection and related complications. Most infections come from eating undercooked ground beef, drinking contaminated water, drinking unpasteurized (raw) milk, and working with cattle. It is widely believed that these figures are grossly understated since many people do not report they have fallen ill.

E. coli symptoms generally manifest about seven days following exposure and usually begin with sudden, severe abdominal cramps. This is followed in a few hours by watery diarrhea that eventually becomes bloody. Some victims may experience a mild fever, as well as nausea or vomiting. In some patients, the infection can also cause a complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), in which the red blood cells are destroyed and the kidneys fail. This complication can be fatal.

Of note, a recent study conducted in Canada suggests that E. coli O157, considered the most virulent strain of the food borne pathogenic disease, could also be responsible for increased risks for blood pressure and cardiac problems long after the most apparent effects of the poisoning are gone.

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