RECALL: E. Coli outbreak leads to over 130,000 pounds of ground beef recalled; one death reported

Ashley Hunter
ECB Publishing, Inc.

A nationwide recall was issued on Wednesday, Sept. 19 for 132,606 pounds of ground beef products from the chuck portion of a cow carcass that is reported to have been contaminated with Escherichia Coli O26 (E. Coli).
Announced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the contaminated ground beef products were released around the United States, and have resulted in 17 illnesses and one reported death.
The ground beef items were produced and packaged on June 21, 2018. The following products are subject to recall:
• 3 lb. chubs of “OUR CERTIFIED 73/27 FINE GRIND GROUND BEEF” with a use or freeze by date of July 11/18 and case code 00228749057646.
• 3 lb. chubs of “OUR CERTIFIED 73/27 FINE GRIND GROUND BEEF” with a use of freeze by date of July 11/18 and case code 00228749002653.
• 10 lb. chubs of “EXCEL 73/27 FINE GRIND GROUND BEEF” with a use of freeze by date of July 11 and case code 00228749089098.
• 10 lb. chubs of “EXCEL 73/27 FINE GRIND GROUND BEEF” with a use or freeze by date of July 11 and case code 90028749002751.
• 10 lb. chubs of “EXCEL 81/19 FINE GRIND GROUND BEEF” with a use or freeze by date of July 11 and case code 90028749003536.
• 10 lb. chubs of “EXCEL GROUND BEEF 81/19 FINE GRIND” with a use or freeze by date of July 11 and case code 00228749003568.
• 10 lb. chubs of “EXCEL CHUCK GROUND BEEF 81/19 FINE GRIND” with a use or freeze by date of July 11 and case code 90028749402773.
• 20-lb. chubs of “EXCEL 81/19 FINE GRIND GROUND BEEF COMBO” with a use or freeze by date of July 11 and case code 90028749073935.
• 10 lb. chubs of “Sterling Silver CHUCK GROUND BEEF 81/19 FINE GRIND” with a use or freeze by date of July 11 and case code 00228749702416.
• 10 lb. chubs of “CERTIFIED ANGUS BEEF CHUCK GROUND BEEF 81/19 FINE GRIND” with a use or freeze by date of July 11 and case code 90028749802405.
• 10 lb. chubs of “CERTIFIED ANGUS BEEF CHUCK GROUND BEEF 81/19 FINE GRIND” with a use or freeze by date of July 11 with case code 00228749802413.
• 10 lb. chubs of “Fire River Farms CLASSIC GROUND BEEF 81/19 FINE GRIND” with a use or freeze by date of 07/11/2018 with case code 90734730297241.
FSIS was notified of an investigation of E. Coli 026 illnesses and with the Center for Disease Control and state public health and agricultural partners, it was determined that raw ground beef was the culprit, with the FSIS discovering that Cargill Meat Solutions was the production company responsible.
The contaminated meat products have been pulled from store shelves, but FSIS is concerned that the products may still remain in consumer's freezers, and asks that any consumer who has recently purchased any of the above listed brands check their freezers.
Any contaminated product should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase for a full refund.
Most people infected with E. Coli develop diarrhea and vomiting. Some illnesses last longer and can be more severe. Infection is usually diagnosed by testing of a stool sample. Vigorous rehydration and other supportive care is the usual treatment; antibiotic treatment is generally not recommended. Most people recover within a week, but rarely, some develop a more severe infection.
Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure, is common with an E. Coli infection. HUS can occur in people of any age but is most common in children under five years old, older adults and persons with weakened immune systems. It is marked by easy bruising, pallor and decreased urine output. Persons experiencing these symptoms should seek emergency medical care immediately.
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°F. 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.
Consumers should take proper precautions when handling raw meat products. Proper hand washing after handling raw meat, poultry and eggs can greatly reduce the risk of bacterial cross-contamination to other foods and kitchen surfaces. It is important to prevent cross-contamination by washing counter tops and sinks with hot, soapy water.