Dutch's Meats Recalls E. Coli Tainted MeatJun 10, 2008 | Parker Waichman LLP
Dutch’s Meats Inc., a hamburger plant located in Trenton, New Jersey has recalled 13,275 pounds of hamburger after tests showed possible E. coli contamination of a batch of meat, officials said. Dutch’s Meats sells to customers and restaurants in Trenton and Pennsylvania and does not sell to individual consumers.
Al Granaldi, Vice President at Dutch’s Meats, said he has been contacting customers and arranged—so far—for the return of 2,000 pounds of meat. No illnesses have been reported in connection with any meat shipped by Dutch’s Meats to date, according to the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Services (FSIS).
The batch that tested positive for E. coli 0157:H7—the deadliest form of E. coli—was sampled on June 3 and kept at Dutch’s, while the company awaited results. As a precaution, Dutch’s Meats recalled production from May 27 to June 6, Granaldi said. Recalled Dutch’s Meats include 10-pound vacuum-packed plastic bags of ground beef and 10-pound boxes of patties. The package date is stamped on the label and the products have the establishment number "EST. 5424" inside the USDA inspection mark.
Dutch's Meats is a grinding plant. E. coli does not originate in grinding plants; however, because E. coli generates from within cattle intestines it can contaminate meat through improper butchering and processing. Although the contamination source has not been confirmed, it is likely to be from one of three suppliers, Granaldi said.
Meanwhile, last month we reported on another meat recall also impacting multiple states. In mid-May, JSM Meat Holdings Company of Chicago recalled beef products distributed in 11 states due to possible E. coli contamination. The recalled meat was used in ground beef products and involved 30- and 60-pound boxes and 47-gallon barrels of beef products.
Escherichia coli is a relatively common bacteria found in the human digestive tract and is normally harmless; however, some strains, including those linked to food poisoning, are serious and can cause fatal blood poisoning, cystitis, and deadly septicemia. In the US, E. coli is the leading cause of food-borne illness. About 73,000 people are infected and 61 people die from E. coli each year and, last year alone, over 22 million pounds of beef and vegetables were recalled due to E. coli outbreaks.
In the last two years, a variety of food pathogens have killed several people, sickened over 1,300 others, and touched nearly every state in the country as well as Canada. The problem is difficult to police because the food-surveillance system is outdated, under-funded, and overwhelmed by the emergence of mega-farms, -distribution centers, and -transporters. Scientists have expressed concern that infections from antibiotic resistant E. coli bacteria are spreading into the greater population and several countries also now report cases of antibiotic-resistant E. coli. Other researchers compare the E. coli threat to the worldwide problem of community-acquired MRSA—methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus—an antibiotic-resistant staph developing resistance to the last drug of choice. And, now, emerging data confirms the negative health effects of E. coli can remain for months and years; can have long-term, lasting effects; and can appear months or years after the original illness.