More than 50,000 pounds of ground beef have been recalled after a possible E. coli contamination at a Kansas plant, but some packages may already have made their way to store shelves.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture determined the ground beef was produced by National Beef Co. on July 18 and the packages have a use by/freeze by date of Aug. 7. The meat was shipped in 40- to 60-pound cases to wholesalers, food service distributors and retailers nationwide.
What stores have this possibly tainted beef? National Beef Co. spokesman Keith Welty told the L.A. Times that "an account in the San Jose area received four boxes of the recalled product" -- but the full list of the distributors still hasn't been made public.
No illnesses have been reported yet from eating this beef. But recent outbreaks of foodborne illness have shown the importance of taking precautions when preparing our food. Bagged salad has sickened more than 350 people in 15 states, as The Times reported Wednesday. And as of Monday, 155 people in nine states -- 76 of them in California -- had contracted Hepatitis A after eating berries sold at Costco stores, according to the CDC.
Be sure to cook any ground beef thoroughly -- the CDC recommends 160 degrees when a thermometer is inserted in the thickest part of the patty. And never place cooked hamburger patties or other food on the same plate that held raw meat.
Here is a list of the packages of ground beef that have been voluntarily recalled by National Beef Co. They are all 10-pound packages, each with an establishment number “EST. 208A” inside the USDA mark of inspection:
National Beef 93/ 7 Fine Ground Beef, Product Code 0707
NatureSource 80/20 Fine Ground Chuck, Product Code 7031
NatureSource 85/15 Fine Ground Beef, Product Code 7054
NatureSource 90/10 Fine Ground Beef, Product Code 7344
NatureSource 93/ 7 Fine Ground Beef, Product Code 7004
NatureWell 80/20 Fine Ground Chuck, Product Code 7484
NatureWell 85/15 Fine Ground Beef, Product Code 7454
NatureWell 90/10 Fine Ground Sirloin, Product Code 7577
NatureWell 93/7 Fine Ground Beef, Product Code 7404
The E. coli contamination was found during a routine sample of a 10-pound package of ground beef by the Food Safety and Inspection Services. The FSIS confirmed a positive result for E. coli, and an investigation determined that the company was the sole supplier of the contaminated meat.
E. Coli is a bacteria that can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration, kidney failure in severe cases and even death.
The National Beef Co. has issued a statement with more information on the recall. No illnesses have been reported.