Meat Recall Issued for E. Coli-Tainted Topps Meat Company Frozen Beef Patties

Topps Meat Company of New Jersey is recalling frozen beef patties after the products were linked to a cluster of E. coli cases in the Northeast. According to the New York State Health Department, at least six people might have been sickened by the tainted hamburger patties. Recalled Topps beef patties that were found in at least one victim’s freezer have tested positive for <"">E. coli O157:H7.

The recall involves 331,582 pounds of frozen beef products. It includes 10-pound boxes of Butcher’s Best 100 Percent All Beef Patties; 10-pound boxes of Kohler Foods burgers; 10-pound boxes of Sand Castle Fine Meat; two-pound boxes of Topps 100 Percent Pure Ground Beef Hamburgers; and three pound boxes of Topps 100-percent Pure Ground Beef Hamburgers. All of the affected beef patties carry the number “EST 9748” inside the USDA inspection mark and have “Sell By” dates of either June 22, 2008 or July 23, 2008. The entire recall list can be viewed at the US Department of Agriculture Website.

The recall came as the result of an investigation by the New York State Health Department into an outbreak of E. coli poisoning in Albany and Rensselaer counties. At least six people became ill after eating the recalled Topps Meat Company beef patties, and a package of the patties found in one person’s freezer tested positive for E. coli contamination. The New York State Health Department is asking anyone who became ill after eating a Topps beef product to contact it immediately. The Food & Drug Administration is also investigating the New York outbreak because the same strain of E. coli has sickened several other people across the country.

E. coli O157:H7 is a deadly form of bacteria that can cause bloody diarrhea and dehydration. Young children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable to E. coli O157:H7. In some rare instances, the disease can progress to the point of kidney failure and death. While most people who suffer from E. coli poisoning recover within 7 to 10 days, extreme cases can require blood transfusions and dialysis treatments.

The Topps Meat Company recall is just the latest in a string of E. coli related beef recalls this summer. In August, Interstate Meats of Oregon issued a recall for more than 41,000 pounds of ground beef that was linked to an outbreak of E. coli poisoning in the Pacific Northwest. Nine people, including one child, became sick with E. coli O157:H7 after eating ground beef distributed by the company. In June, United Food Group recalled 5 million pounds of meat. That recall was followed by another that involved 40,000 lbs of E. coli-tainted beef products produced by Tyson Fresh Meat, Inc. Recalls of contaminated meat are up sharply over 2006. That year, only a little over 150,000 pounds of meat were involved in E. coli recalls.

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