Various ground beef products may be contaminated with E. coli, health agency warns

Various ground beef products may be contaminated with E. coli, health agency warns

Contaminated Ground Beef Alert

Contaminated Ground Beef Alert

The more than a dozen potentially contaminated products were produced by the Greater Omaha Packing Co., and include both patties and tubes of raw ground beef, according to the FSIS public health alert issued on Saturday.

The agency said it was "concerned that some products may be in consumers’ and food service institutions’ freezers" and urged the public not to consume them due to possible E. coli contamination. Packaging of the products, which were made on March 28, should show an April 22 "Use/Freeze by" date and the establishment number "EST. 960A."

No recall of the affected ground beef products occurred because they "are no longer available for purchase," the FSIS alert said. "The problem was discovered by the establishment while conducting an inventory of product that was on hold because it was found positive for E. coli 0157:H7. The company notified FSIS that they inadvertently used a portion of the contaminated beef to produce ground beef products that they subsequently shipped into commerce," the agency said.

Both food service institutions and retailers received the meat products, FSIS said. The type of E. coli that the ground beef products could have "is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause dehydration, bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps 2-8 days (3-4 days, on average) after exposure," FSIS said. It is responsible for over one-third of the total 265,000 yearly cases of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli illnesses that arise in America, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated.

FSIS said the ground beef products subject to Saturday’s public health alert haven’t led to any people getting sick to date. Consumers can throw the meat in the trash or take it back to the retailer, according to the agency.

Greater Omaha Packing produces beef that goes to over 70 countries.

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