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1.8 Million Pounds of Ground Beef Recalled for Possible E. Coli Contamination

May 20, 2014

A Michigan meat packing company has recalled 1.8 million pounds of restaurant ground beef that may be contaminated with E. coli after 11 people in four states have fallen ill since late April.

Four people in Ohio became ill and three were hospitalized, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. A representative of the Ohio Department of Health representative said the Ohio cases and cases in Michigan might have a common source, though that has not yet been confirmed.

Wolverine Packing Co., of Detroit, distributed the ground beef to restaurants in Ohio, Michigan, Missouri, and Massachusetts. The beef was not sold to schools, the military, or online, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) said. The recalled ground beef was produced between March 31, 2014 and April 18, 2014, and bears the establishment number "EST. 2574B" and has a production date code in the format "Packing Nos: MM DD 14" between "03 31 14" and "04 18 14," the Plain Dealer reports.

E. coli O157 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration, and in the most severe cases, kidney failure. Young children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems are the most susceptible to serious food-borne illness, though anyone can become infected. The infection can be transmitted through contaminated water or food, or through contact with animals or persons. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most people recover within five to seven days, but some experience severe or life-threatening infections.

The USDA food inspection service recommends cooking ground beef to a temperature of 160° F to kill harmful bacteria, and to confirm the internal temperature with a food thermometer, the Plain Dealer writes.

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