Possible E. coli Prompts Recall of 1 Million Lbs of Ground Beef

Valley Meat Company of Modesto, California just issued a recall of about one million pounds of frozen ground beef patties and bulk ground beef products that may be contaminated with <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/food_poisoning">E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) just announced. This is a Class I recall which means a health hazard situation exists in which there is a reasonable probability that use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death.

FSIS became aware of the problem on July 15 when it was notified by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) of a small E. coli O157:H7 cluster of illnesses with a rare strain, as determined by PFGE sub-typing. A total of six patients with illness onset dates between April 8 and June 18, 2010 were reported at that time. After further review, CDPH added another patient from February to the case count, bringing the count to seven. FSIS is continuing to work with the CDPH and the company on the investigation. Anyone with signs or symptoms of food borne illness should contact a health care provider.

A complete list of recalled products can be accessed at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/News_&_Events/Recall_048_2010_Release/index.asp

Products subject to the recall bear the establishment number “EST. 8268″ inside the USDA mark of inspection as well as a production code of 25709 through 01210. These products were produced from October 2, 2009 through January 12, 2010 and were distributed to retail outlets and institutional foodservice providers in California, Texas, Oregon, Arizona, and internationally. When available, the retail distribution list(s) will be posted on FSIS’ website at here.

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 food borne illness.

FSIS and Valley Meat are concerned some product may still be frozen and in consumers’ freezers. FSIS strongly encourages consumers to check their freezers and immediately discard any product that is the subject of this recall. FSIS advises consumers to safely prepare raw meat products, including fresh and frozen, and to 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.

Vanessa Smith at (916) 492-5314 or Brooke Burgess at (916) 492-5321 at Valley Meat are available to speak to consumers regarding the recall. Consumers may also call a company-sponsored help desk at (866) 221-6474 or log on to www.valleymeat.com/our-team/recall-information/ for more information.

Consumers with food safety questions can “Ask Karen,” the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at www.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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