Less than a week before Thanksgiving, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced a recall for 99,260 pounds of raw beef from meat processor JBS USA due to concerns of possible E.coli contamination at JBS’s Swift Beef facility in Utah. The announcement came on Nov. 17.
The contamination was traced to the Swift Beef Company in Utah when FSIS visited the facility on Nov. 15 and found the E. coli strain called O157:H7.
The products that are affected by the recall had been shipped from Swift Beef Company to retail distributors for further processing. Food distributors then transported the beef to retailer stores in California, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.
The products at risk of contamination can be identified by the establishment number “EST. 628” inside the USDA mark of inspection.
The ground beef was produced on Oct. 24. The products subject to recall are:
- 2,000 lb. – bulk pallets of Swift Ground Beef 81/19 (81% lean) Fine Grind Combo bearing product code 42982
- 8-10 lb. – plastic wrapped chubs of “blue ribbon BEEF” Ground Beef 81/19 (81% lean) Coarse Grind bearing product code 42410
- 8-10 lb. – plastic wrapped chubs of “blue ribbon BEEF” Ground Beef 93/07 (93% lean) Coarse Grind bearing product code 42413
- 8-10 lb. – plastic wrapped chubs of “blue ribbon BEEF” Ground Beef 85/15 (85% lean) Coarse Grind bearing product code 42415
- 8-10 lb. – plastic wrapped chubs of “blue ribbon BEEF” Ground Beef 73/27 (73% lean) Coarse Grind bearing product code 42510
Though there are no confirmed reports of negative reactions so far from the consumption of the beef products, the FSIS emphasises the need to be on the lookout for signs and symptoms that can be caused by the E. coli strain.
“E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause dehydration, bloody diarrhea, and abdominal cramps 2-8 days (3-4 days, on average) after exposure to the organism,” FSIS said in a statement.
“While most people recover within a week, some develop a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).
“This condition can occur among persons of any age but is most common in children under 5-years old and older adults. It is marked by easy bruising, pallor, and decreased urine output.
“Persons who experience these symptoms should seek emergency medical care immediately.”
In the recall notice, the FSIS reminded that all consumers should only eat beef that had been cooked to a temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
The only way to confirm that ground beef—be they fresh or frozen—has been cooked to kill all harmful bacteria is to use a food thermometer, which measures internal temperature in the beef, the FSIS said.
Previous Outbreaks: E. Coli and Salmonella
Earlier this year, an E. coli outbreak of the O157:H7 strain spread across 36 states, with 210 people affected. It was linked Romaine lettuce from the Yuma region in Arizona. Five people died from the contamination. They were from the states of Arkansas, California, Minnesota (two died), and New York. The outbreak appeared to be over as of June 28, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The latest Swift Beef Company recall comes less than two months after another recall from JBS of 6.9 million pounds of raw beef products due to salmonella contamination concerns.
As of Nov. 16, a total of 246 people in 25 states across the United States had fallen ill to the Salmonella Newport bacteria outbreak from October, according to the CDC. While no deaths have been reported, 59 people have been hospitalized.
The potentially contaminated beef products were found in various retail outlets and sold under a variety of brand names, including Walmart, Cedar River Farms Natural Beef, Showcase, Showcase/Walmart, and JBS Generic.