E. coli Prompts Ground Beef Recall

American Food Service, of Pico Rivera, California, is recalling approximately 3,170 pounds of fresh ground beef patties and other bulk packages of ground beef products that may be contaminated with <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/food_poisoning">E. coli O157:H7 bacteria, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) just announced. The recall is a Class 1, which means that this is a health hazard situation in which there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death.

FSIS inspection personnel were made aware of the potential food poisoning problem when contacted by another federal regulated establishment that believed it had received suspect product. The following products, produced on Jan. 31, 2011, (with the corresponding case codes) are subject to recall:

• (559002) American Companies 100% Pure Ground Beef 30-lb. case

• (552102) American Companies 2/1 R Ground Beef Patties 80/20 10-lb. case

• (553102) American Companies 3/1 R Ground Beef Patties 80/20 10-lb. case

• (554102) American Companies 4/1 R Ground Beef Patties 80/20 10-lb. case

• (554106) American Companies 4/1 R Ground Beef Patties 80/20 10-lb. case

• (554302) American Companies 4/1 L Ground Beef Patties 80/20 20-lb. case

• (555302) American Companies 5/1 L Ground Beef Patties 80/20 20-lb. case

• (556102) American Companies 6/1 R Ground Beef Patties 80/20 10-lb. case

• (553302) American Companies 3/1 L Ground Beef Patties 80/20 20-lb. case

• (554402) American Companies 4/1 J Ground Beef Patties 80/20 20-lb. case

• (557102) American Companies 7/1 R Ground Beef Patties 80/20 10-lb. case

• (556106) American Companies 6/1 R Ground Beef Patties 80/20 10-lb. case

• (552106) American Companies 2/1 R Ground Beef Patties 80/20 10-lb. case

• (559004) American Companies Ground Beef Bulk 80% Lean Taco Grind 60-lb. case

• (559202) American Companies 100% Pure Ground Beef For Chili (Coarse Grind) 30-lb. case.

The products subject to the recall bear the establishment number “EST. 1913″ inside the USDA mark of inspection. These products were distributed to restaurants throughout southern California. FSIS and the establishment are concerned that some product may be frozen and in restaurant freezers.

E. coli bacteria is a potentially deadly pathogen and E. coli symptoms include bloody diarrhea, Dehydration, Abdominal Cramps, and Vomiting. In the most severe cases, the symptoms of E. coli poisoning can include kidney failure. The very young, seniors, and persons with weak immune systems are the most susceptible to foodborne illnesses.

E. coli infection can lead to other adverse health effects, some long-term and serious, such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), which encompasses a group of disorders, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, which cause the intestines to become inflamed. IBD can cause Abdominal Cramps and pain, diarrhea, weight loss, and bleeding from the intestines. Victims of E. coli infection are also at risk of developing a form of reactive arthritis called Reiter’s Syndrome, which typically affects large weight-bearing joints such as the knees and the lower back.

Victims of E. coli food poisoning sometimes require kidney transplants and may have scarred intestines that cause lasting digestive difficulty. Even E. coli patients who supposedly recovered can experience long-term health problems later on. For instance, it is estimated that 10 percent of E. coli foodborne illness sufferers develop a life-threatening complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS, in which their kidneys and other organs fail.

FSIS advises all consumers to safely prepare their raw meat products, including fresh and frozen, and only consume ground beef that has been cooked to a 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.

The company’s Customer Service Supervisor, Mario Hernandez, can be reached at 1.562.801.4100, extension 238. 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) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day.

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