Ground Beef Recalled, Possible Link To Multistate E. Coli Outbreak

Beef May Be Contaminated With Same E. Coli Strain

That Has Made 156 People Ill

Image courtesy Saloca, Wikimedia Commons.

Authorities have announced the recall of ground beef that may be contaminated with E. coli O103, the same infection that has made 156 people in 10 states ill, including 65 in Kentucky.

Grant Park Packing of Franklin Park, Illinois, is recalling approximately 53,200 pounds of raw ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O103. However, there is no definitive link between this positive product and the ongoing  outbreak. According to an FDA press release, packages of ground beef collected as part of the investigation tested positive but further testing is necessary to determine if the recalled ground beef products are related to the E. coli O103 outbreak. Additional product may be recalled, authorities say.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, the raw ground beef was produced on October 30-31, 2018, and November 1, 2018.  The 40-pound bulk cardboard boxes of “North Star Imports & Sales, LLC. 100-percent ground beef bulk 80-percent lean/ 20-percent fat” are marked “for institutional use only” with lot code GP.1051.18 and pack dates 10/30/2018, 10/31/2018, and 11/01/2018.

The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. 21781” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to Kentucky, which has been the epicenter for the E. coli outbreak, for institutional use.

State and federal agencies—including the FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Kentucky Department for Public Health, have been investigating the outbreak. The investigation has been hindered in part because many clinical laboratories do not test for strains of E. coli such as O103, which is harder to identify than other strains.

People can become ill from 2–8 days (average of 3–4 days) after exposure. Most people infected  develop diarrhea (often bloody) and vomiting. Some illnesses last longer and can be more severe. Infection is usually diagnosed by testing of a stool sample. Vigorous rehydration and other supportive care is the usual treatment; antibiotic treatment is generally not recommended. Most people recover within a week, but, rarely, some develop a more severe infection. Hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure, is uncommon, but it can occur in people of any age. However, it is most common in children under 5 years old, older adults and persons with weakened immune systems. It is marked by easy bruising, pallor and decreased urine output. Persons who experience these symptoms should seek emergency medical care immediately.

Consumers are advised to safely prepare their raw meat products, including fresh and frozen, and only consume ground beef that has been cooked to a temperature of 160°F. 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 internal temperature.

Consumers with questions regarding the recall can contact Darrin Bosell, Manager, Grant Park Packing, at (312) 421-4096.

Consumers with food safety questions can “Ask Karen,” the Food Safety and Inspection Service virtual representative available 24 hours a day at AskKaren.gov or via smartphone at m.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 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day. The online Electronic Consumer Complaint Monitoring System can be accessed 24 hours a day at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/reportproblem.

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