USDA Announces Ground Beef Recall For Potential E. Coli Contamination
On January 6, 2022, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced a recall of 28,356 lbs. of ground beef produced by Interstate Dist., of Clackamas, Oregon, due to suspected E. coli O157:H7 contamination.
The products of concern were produced on December 20, 2021. The recalled ground beef can be identified by the establishment number “EST. 965” which can be found inside the USDA mark of inspection or printed next to the time stamp and use or freeze by date. The recalled ground beef was distributed to various retail stores in Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
Health officials are concerned—even though the recalled ground beef has been removed from the stores—that some people may still have it in their freezers. If you discover that you are in possession of any of the recalled ground beef, throw it away or return it to its place of purchase for a refund.
E. coli O157:H7 is a bacterium which can cause moderate to severe gastrointestinal illness, leading to symptoms such as bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps. Most people who contract E. coli infection are able to recover without medical attention, however, some people, especially young children and the elderly, can develop a type of kidney failure known as hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). According to national e. coli lawyer Ron Simon, “HUS is serious, and often leads to life-long injuries. In cases where we have represented HUS victims, the damages go far beyond the normal case of food poisoning. And because it often affects children, these cases can be very emotional. Parents need to be very vigilant when they suspect e. coli food poisoning in their children.”
According to Eric Schlosser, the author of Fast Food Nation, during the “production system, there are many opportunities for the meat to be contaminated”. Most large beef processing facilities process between 300 to 400 cattle per hour. That is twice the speed as anywhere else in the world. Schlosser explains that meat becomes contaminated with bacteria by coming into contact with fecal matter “from the stomach contents or the hide of the animal”. Ground beef poses a particular issue to food safety because a small piece of meat which becomes contaminated and then gets mixed into hundreds of other pounds of meat, contaminates the whole lot. That is why beef recalls are often thousands of pounds of meat at a time. Since the speed at which processing facilities process beef is not conducive to protecting against mass bacterial contamination of the meat, efficiency and profit need to yield to safety.