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Another E. Coli Ground Beef Recall - This Time From Mark's Quality Meats

Jan 7, 2008 | Parker Waichman LLP Mark’s Quality Meats, Inc. a Detroit, Michigan firm, is voluntarily recalling approximately 13,150 pounds of various cuts of steaks and ground beef products because they may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service announced this weekend.  The Mark's Quality Meat's recall is labeled Class I, a health hazard situation where there is a reasonable probability that product use will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death.  Class 2 recalls are a health hazard situation where there is a remote probability of adverse health consequences from the use of the product and Class 3 is a situation where the use of the product will not cause adverse health consequences.

The steak and ground beef products subject to recall were produced on December 20th, 21st, 24th or 26th in 2007 and were distributed to restaurants in the metropolitan Detroit area; these products were not available for purchase by consumers in retail establishments. The problem was discovered after the recalling firm submitted a product sample that tested positive at a third party laboratory.  Each shipping label bears the establishment number "Est. 8951" inside the USDA mark of inspection.  The following products are subject to recall, Boxes of "Mark's Quality Meats, Inc. BEEF FOR INDUSTRIAL USE ONLY:


Meanwhile, scientists in Sweden recently traveled to vast regions of the frigid ice cap in search of species they hoped had been spared exposure to drug-resistant strains of E. coli and were surprised to discover widespread antibiotic-resistant E. coli in Arctic-dwelling birds never previously exposed to the drugs.  It seems migratory fowl that circumnavigate the globe along centuries-old flyways passed the bacteria; although thousands of miles apart, the locations are linked through looping migratory flyways.

E. coli O157:H7 is a deadly bacterium that can cause bloody diarrhea and dehydration and is one of hundreds of E. coli strains, the vast majority of which are harmless.  Strain 0157:H7 is quite virulent and produces a powerful toxin that can cause severe illness and even death and is the leading cause of food and waterborne illness in the U.S.  Routinely found on cattle farms and in the intestines of healthy livestock, E. coli outbreaks occur when meat becomes tainted during slaughter, organisms contaminate the grounding process, and tainted meat is released and consumed by the public.  According to Center of Disease Control (CDC) estimates, there are over 70,000 cases of infection yearly with 2,100 hospitalized and 61 fatalities as a direct result of E. coli infections and its complications.  It has been estimated that for every laboratory-confirmed E. coli O157:H7 infection, another four-to-eight symptomatic cases are missed.

Infectious diseases—including E. coli—become resistant due to antibiotic overuse and abuse.  People want antibiotics and doctors prescribe them; bacteria want to survive.  And they do.  Doctors prescribe antibiotics; bacteria learn to adapt.  We overuse or misuse antibiotics; bacteria mutate, changing just enough to ensure antibiotics have no effect on them and giving them a wide berth to spread with ever more power.

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