Possible E. coli Outbreak Correlated to HelloFresh Ground Beef
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and CDC, along with state public health partners, are currently investigating an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak and believe the probable source of the illnesses to be ground beef. From traceback evidence, experts found that several victims of the E. coli outbreak consumed ground beef with establishment number M46841, which was distributed by the meal delivery service HelloFresh.
The FSIS issued a public health safety alert for the following ground beef product:
10-oz. plastic vacuum-packed packages containing “GROUND BEEF 85% LEAN/15% FAT” with codes “EST#46841 L1 22 155” or “EST#46841 L5 22 155” on the side of the packaging.
The ground beef was shipped to consumers from July 2-21, 2022; a recall was not issued for the product because it is no longer being sold to consumers, however, the FSIS is concerned the product remains in consumers freezers. For concerns and questions regarding the HelloFresh alert, consumers and media can contact HelloFresh by emailing [email protected] or may choose to contact a food poisoning law firm.
The safety of meal delivery services has been challenged before. Most recently, a Daily Harvest contamination of French Lentil + Leek Crumbles back in June of 2022 led to an estimated 470 complaints of gastrointestinal and liver issues. The outbreak led to shocking revelations about the limited food safety regulations on meal delivery services. According to U.S. law, companies that sell the majority of their food products directly to consumers are regulated by local and state agencies. The law leaves little jurisdiction for the FDA to regulate meal delivery services, leaving Local and State food inspectors, some of whom typically inspect places such as restaurants and gas stations, left with the bleak task of monitoring the food safety standards of giant meal delivery manufacturers that ship meals nationwide. There are also few regulations on shipping standards for meal delivery services, meaning that shipments are not required to maintain a proper temperature that promotes food safety. Furthermore, because meal delivery services often ship nationwide, reported illnesses are spread throughout the country, making it difficult to trace outbreaks.