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Blue Ribbon Meats Ground Beef Recall Issued Due to E. Coli Contamination

Oct 26, 2007 | Parker Waichman LLP

Blue Ribbon Meats has issued a ground beef recall because some meat processed at its plant in Florida could be contaminated with E. coli bacteria. The company recalled more than 8,000 pounds of frozen ground beef products after a farm that supplies beef to Blue Ribbon Meats informed the company that it may have mistakenly shipped E. coli contaminated beef to the Hialeah, Florida company.

According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), the products encompassed by the Blue Ribbon Meats ground beef recall include:  10-pound boxes of "WESPAK B.R.'S BRAND SEASONED BEEF PATTIES FOR SALISBURY, 80/20"; 10-pound boxes and 20-pound cases of "JNS FOODS, LLC, B.R.'S BRAND SEASONED BEEF PATTIES FOR SALISBURY, 80/20"; 10-pound boxes and 20-pound cases of "JNS FOODS, LLC, BEEF PATTIE MIX, 80/20"; 10-pound boxes and 20-pound cases of "JNS FOODS, LLC, BEEF PATTIES, 80/20"; and 10-pound boxes and 20-pound cases of "JNS FOODS, LLC, MEATLOAF SEASONED BEEF PATTIES, 80/20."

Each package bears the establishment number “EST 451A” inside the USDA mark of inspection.   Each case or box is marked with the date code of “2577”, “2647” or “2707”.  The “ingredients” statement on each package includes “textured vegetable protein” or “defatted soy grits”.   The frozen beef products were produced between September 14 and September 27, 2007 and were intended for a correctional institution and for distribution in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands.

The contaminated beef was discovered by Creekstone Farm of Kansas, a supplier to Blue Ribbon Meats.  Apparently, the farm had detected E. coli bacteria in some of its beef and it was put on hold.  But somehow, some of the contaminated meat was mistakenly shipped to Blue Ribbon Meats.  So far, no illnesses have been attributed to the recalled Blue Ribbon Meats frozen ground beef.

E. coli is a common bacteria found in the intestines of both humans and animals.  However, several strains of the bacteria can cause serious illness.  E. coli is characterized by bloody diarrhea, and if not treated promptly, can lead to kidney failure or death.  The illness is one of the most common problems plaguing the US food supply.  This year, E. coli contamination involving millions of pounds of beef has been responsible for 16 separate meat recalls. The Topps Meat Company of New Jersey issued the largest ground beef recall so far this year, when it recalled nearly 22 million pounds of E. coli tainted ground beef in September.  The Topps ground beef E. coli outbreak sickened dozens of people around the country, and ultimately forced the 67-year-old meat processor to go out of business.  

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