Oct 8, 2007 | Parker Waichman LLP
A new ground beef recall was issued this weekend by Cargill Meat Solutions, Inc. of Wisconsin, as consumers are again being warned to check their freezers for more E. coli contaminated ground beef. This weekend, Cargill recalled more than 800,000 pounds of frozen ground beef patties after the product was tied to 3 cases of E. coli poisoning in Minnesota. It is the second time in a little more than a week that E. coli tainted frozen beef patties have been ordered off the market.
On Saturday, Cargill announced a recall of 844,812 pounds of frozen ground beef patties distributed to retail outlets, restaurants and institutions nationwide. All of the frozen patties were produced between August 9 and August 17, 2007, and bear the establishment number “Est. 924A” inside the USDA mark of inspection. Included in the ground beef recall were 6-pound boxes of “American Chef’s Selection Angus Beef Patties 18-1/3 Pound Patties” sold at retail stores across the country. Each package bears a case code of “7703100” and various package codes of Best If Used By dates of “02/05/08,” “02/06/08,” “02/12/08,” and “02/13/08”. Cargill distributed the rest of the recalled ground beef to restaurants and food service institutions. The complete list of recalled meat can be found at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) website.
Cargill initiated the recall on Saturday, after retailer Wal-Mart announced that it was removing packages of “American Chef’s Selection Angus Beef Patties” from Sam’s Club stores after it had received reports that some customers became ill after eating the tainted ground beef patties. So far, three people have reported E. coli poisoning linked to the recalled Cargill frozen ground beef. E. coli is a bacterium that can cause bloody diarrhea and dehydration. Young children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable to E. coli poisoning. In some rare instances, the disease can progress to the point of kidney failure and death. While most people who suffer from E. coli poisoning recover within 7 to 10 days, extreme cases can require blood transfusions and dialysis treatments.
This is the second time in a little over a week that frozen ground beef patties have been linked to an E. coli outbreak. On September 25, the Topps Meat Company recalled more than 300,000 pounds of frozen beef patties after they were linked to an E. coli outbreak in New York State. By September 29, Topps had recalled another 21.7 pounds of beef patties, and the E. coli outbreak had spread to 8 states. So far, at least 30 people have gotten sick from the contaminated Topps ground beef, and late last week, the 67-year-old company announced that it would be closing its doors for good. Topps management said that there was no way the company could survive the fallout from the massive ground beef recall.
After a three year decline, E. coli has once again become a threat to the country’s meat supply. In 2006, just over 150,000 pounds of meat were recalled because of E. coli contamination. But this year, millions of pounds of meat have been recalled, and hundreds of people around the country have been sickened by E. coli tainted meat.