A meat producer in New Jersey, USA, is voluntarily recalling over 300,000 pounds of frozen ground beef products because they could be contaminated with the potentially deadly bacteria E. coli O157:H7. The announcement was made earlier this week in Washington by the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).
FSIS classes the recall as Class I “a health hazard situation where there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death”.
E. coli is a bacteria that can be fatal, and most at risk are the very young, the elderly and people with weak immune systems such as those receiving chemotherapy. Symptoms include abdominal cramps and diarrhea (sometimes bloody).
The recall was announced after confirmation that a product sample, taken during an investigation in the Northeast US of a cluster of illnesses, contained the deadly strain of E. coli.
The products, all containing frozen ground beef, were produced on June 22, July 12 or July 23, and distributed to retailers nationwide and also to food service establishments in the New York metropolitan area.
Each product has the establishment number inside the USDA’s mark of inspection on the package: “Est. 9748”.
The brands affected include: Butcher’s Best, Kohler Foods, Sand Castle, Topps, and Westside.
The full list of products affected is given here:
|Box weight||Product Name||Date|
|10lb||BUTCHER’S BEST 100% ALL BEEF PATTIES 75/25, 6 OZ. FLAT, 27 PIECES||JUL 23 08|
|10lb||BUTCHER’S BEST 100% ALL BEEF PATTIES 75/25, 4 OZ. (4-1), 40 PIECES||JUL 23 08|
|10lb||KOHLER FOODS 4 OZ. FLAT HAMBURGER, CODE: 60100, 40 PCS||JUL 23 08|
|10lb||KOHLER FOODS 6 OZ. FLAT HAMBURGER, CODE: 60200, 27 PCS||JUL 23 08|
|10lb||KOHLER FOODS 8 OZ. FLAT HAMBURGER, CODE: 60300, 20 PCS||JUL 23 08|
|10lb||SAND CASTLE FINE MEAT, 100% PREMIUM BEEF HAMBURGERS 80/20, 8 OZ. FLAT, 20 COUNT||Packed-on date:|
JUN 22 07
|10lb||SAND CASTLE FINE MEAT, 100% PREMIUM BEEF HAMBURGERS 85/15, 6 OZ. FLAT, 27 COUNT||Packed-on date:|
JUN 22 07
|2lb||Topps 100% Pure Ground Beef Hamburgers, 8 Quarter Pounders||JUL 12 08|
|2lb||Topps 100% Pure Ground Beef Hamburgers, 3 OZ., 10 COUNT||JUL 12 08|
|3lb||Topps 100% Pure Ground Beef Hamburgers, 6 OZ. PUB Burgers||JUN 22 08|
|3lb||Topps 100% Pure Ground Beef Hamburgers, 12 Quarter Pounders||JUN 22 08,|
JUL 12 08, or
JUL 23 08
|3lb||Topps 100% Pure Ground Beef Hamburgers, 16 Hamburgers||JUL 23 08|
|5lb||Topps 100% Pure Ground Beef Hamburgers, 20 Quarter Pounders||JUN 22 08,|
JUL 12 08, or
JUL 23 08
|8lb||Topps 100% Pure Ground Beef Hamburgers, 32 Quarter Pounders||JUN 22 08|
|10lb||Topps 100% PREMIUM HAMBURGERS 5 OZ. (1/2″)||JUN 22 08|
|10lb||Topps HAMBURGERS, 3.2 OZ, 50 COUNT||JUL 12 08|
|10lb||Topps 100% PREMIUM HAMBURGERS, 8 OZ. (Pub Burger)||JUL 23 08|
|10lb||Topps 100% PREMIUM HAMBURGERS, 4 OZ. (4-1) Homestyle||JUL 23 08|
|10lb||WESTSIDE, 100% PREMIUM HAMBURGER, 8 OZ FLAT, 20 COUNT||JUN 22 08|
|10lb||WESTSIDE, 100% PREMIUM HAMBURGER, 6 OZ FLAT, 27 COUNT||JUN 22 08|
|10lb||WESTSIDE, 100% PREMIUM HAMBURGER, 5 OZ FLAT, 32 COUNT||JUN 22 08|
Source: FSIS: Recall Release CLASS I RECALL FSIS-RC-040-2007 on 27 Sep 09
If consumers have bought any of these products they should return them to the point of purchase.
The USDA reminded consumers they should observe the following food safety advice whenever they prepare food containing ground beef patties:
- Only eat ground beef patties after they have cooked at a safe temperature of 160 deg F (71 deg C).
- When cooked at this temperature throughout ground beef patties can be “safe and juicy, regardless of color”.
- You are putting yourself at risk of foodborne illness (and anyone you prepare food for), if you eat a pink or red ground beef patty without first checking whether it was cooked at a minimum of 160 deg F (71 deg C).
- Use an accurate food thermometer to be certain the ground beef has cooked at a high enough temperature to kill harmful bacteria.
- “Color is not a reliable indicator” that the cooking temperature was high enough, so don’t rely on it, especially when dealing with bacteria that can kill, like E. coli O157:H7.
- Be particularly careful if you are cooking for people who are most vulnerable to foodborne illness, such as very young children, the elderly, and people whose immune systems are already weak.
Consumers who want further information about the recall can contact a Vice President of the company, Jeffrey Rohach at (908) 351-0500 ext. 50.
Consumers who want further information about food safety can go to AskKaren.gov, or speak to someone on the the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1- 888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) between 10 am and 4 pm (Eastern Time), Mon – Fri.
Written by: Catharine Paddock