Ground Beef Sold in California, Utah Recalled for E. coli

Ground beef sold in California and Utah has been recalled over potential E. coli contamination, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) just announced.

Dale T. Smith and Sons Meat Packing, of Draper, Utah is recalling about 38,200 pounds of beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 in what the FSIS deems a Class I recall, its most serious designation. A Class I recall involves a health hazard situation in which there exists a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death.

The recall involves a variety of weight combination bins of Boneless Beef “50/50,” “85/15,” “90/10,” “93/07,” or “95/05″ and a variety of weight boxes of primal cuts, sub-primal cuts, and boxed beef. All of the recalled beef products were produced on August 7, 2012. Every box bears a label with the identifying package date “08/07/2012″ and the establishment number “EST. 4975″ inside the USDA mark of inspection.

The recalled products were distributed to wholesale and retail establishments in California and Salt Lake City, Utah. Of note, the products were destined for further processing and products available for direct consumer purchase may not bear the “EST. 4975″ mark. When available, the retail distribution list(s) will be posted on FSIS’ web site at: www.fsis.usda.gov/FSIS_Recalls/Open_Federal_Cases/index.asp.

The contamination was discovered through laboratory testing conducted by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, which confirmed positive results for E. coli O157:H7. The contamination may be the result of a refrigeration malfunction. Because of the significant potential for cross contamination, Dale T. Smith and Sons Meat Packing has recalled all beef products produced on August 7, 2012.

The FSIS advises all consumers to safely prepare their raw meat products, including fresh and frozen, and to only consume ground beef 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.

Dale T. Smith and Son’s Plant Manager, Mike Smith, can be reached at 1.801.571.3611. “Ask Karen,” the FSIS virtual representative is available 24 hours a day at www.AskKaren.gov or via smartphone at m.askkaren.gov; live chat is available Monday – Friday, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Eastern Time (ET). The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1.888.MPHotline (1.888-674.6854) is available in English and Spanish l0:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., ET, Monday through Friday; recorded food safety messages are always available.

E. coli are a group of bacteria found in animal intestines and feces. While some strains are necessary for digestion; some are harmful, deadly, and toxin producing and part of a group of E. coli called Verocytotoxigenic E. coli, or VTECs, also known as Shiga-producing E. coli, which may cause severe diarrhea, stomach cramps, and bloody stool; in the most severe cases, this infection can lead to kidney failure and death. Although no illnesses have been reported in connection with this recall, to date, symptoms generally appear three to four days after exposure, but can take as long as nine days to manifest. The infection sometimes causes hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a serious disease in which red blood cells are destroyed and the kidneys fail. Infants, children, pregnant women, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems are especially at risk.

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