E. Coli Concern Prompts Beef Recall

About 40,000 pounds of frozen, fine-ground beef products are being recalled by Palo Duro Meat, of Amarillo, Texas, over concerns of contamination with the dangerous and deadly E. coli O157:H7 pathogen, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) just announced.

The recall has been deemed a Class I by the FSIS, which means that this is a health hazard situation in which there is a reasonable probability that use of the recalled product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death.

The products subject to recall include 40-pound boxes containing four 10-pound chubs of fine ground beef. Each case bears “Est. 7282” inside the USDA mark of inspection, as well as a production code of 19110.

The frozen, recalled beef product was produced on September 9, 2011 and shipped to two warehouses in Georgia for further distribution to institutions. The institutions include six school districts in Georgia that are part of the National School Lunch Program. The FSIS reports that the bulk of the product has not left the warehouses and, at this time, it is not aware of any product having been served as part of the school lunch program in the districts.

Palo Duro Meat discovered the potential contamination after a review of lab results confirmed a positive result for the E. coli O157:H7 pathogen on September 22. It is possible that the contamination may have occurred due to a sample tracking error that allowed the product in question to be inadvertently shipped into commerce.

FSIS and the company have received no reports of illnesses associated with consumption of these products; however, it is important to bear in mind that the effects of E. coli poisoning could take some time to manifest in symptoms.

E. coli O157:H7 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 develop an infection from foodborne pathogens.

FSIS advises all consumers to safely prepare their raw meat products, including fresh and frozen, and to only consume ground beef that has been cooked to an internal temperature of 160-degrees Fahrenheit. The only way to confirm that ground beef is cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria is to use a food thermometer that measures internal temperature.

Palo Duro Meat’s Vice President, Trevor Caviness, can be reached at 1.806.372.5781.

Consumers with food safety questions can “Ask Karen,” the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at AskKaren.gov. The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1.888.MPHotline (1.888.674.6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from l0:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Eastern Time (ET), Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day.

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