Tyson Fresh Meats Inc., of Dakota City, Nebraska, is recalling approximately 40,948 pounds of ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) just announced. The recall has been designated a Class I by the FSIS, its most serious, and represents a health hazard situation in which there exists a reasonable probability that use of the recalled product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death.
Tyson’s 10-pound chubs of “CHUCK FINE GROUND BEEF 80/20,” are subject to the recall. The recalled Tyson’s meat is packed in cases containing eight chubs and have a “BEST BEFORE OR FREEZE BY” date of “11/13/11” and “EST. 245C” on the box label. The products were shipped to institutions and distributors in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
The problem was discovered through routine FSIS monitoring, which confirmed a positive result for E. coli O157:H7. No reports of illnesses linked to these problems have been received by either the FSIS or Tyson. It is important to note that it can take some time from ingestion of a contaminated product for symptoms to manifest. Symptoms generally appear three-four days after exposure, but can take as long as nine days to manifest.
E. coli are a group of bacteria found in animal intestines and feces. Some strains are needed for digestion; some are harmful, deadly, toxin producing, and may cause severe diarrhea, stomach cramps, and bloody stool. Most seriously, kidney failure and death may occur.
The infection sometimes causes hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a serious disease in which red blood cells are destroyed and the kidneys fail. Infants, children, pregnant women, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems are especially at risk. FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify their customers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers.
FSIS advises all consumers to safely prepare their raw meat products—fresh and frozen—and to only consume ground beef cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. The only way to confirm that ground beef is cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria is to use a food thermometer that measures the internal temperature of the meat.
Tyson can be reached, toll-free, at 1.866.328.3156. Consumers with food safety questions can “Ask Karen,” the FSIS virtual representative, which is available 24 hours a day at AskKaren.gov. The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1.888.MPHotline (1.888.674.6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from l0:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day.