Ground Beef Recalled After E. Coli Find
IBP Inc., the nation’s largest meatpacker, recalled a shipment of ground beef after U.S. Agriculture Department scientists found a sample tainted with the potentially deadly E. coli bacteria during a random test. The USDA notified health departments in 21 states, not including California, of the contamination, but the department said it considers the recall to be nationwide. There have been no reported illnesses linked to the meat. The recall of about 282,129 pounds of beef--a relatively modest amount by meatpacking standards--comes amid growing efforts by the USDA and federal lawmakers to tighten food safety rules. Although only one sample of the beef produced at the Joslin, Ill., plant on April 14 tested positive for the E. coli 0157:H7 bacteria, the company recalled all ground beef produced that day and shipped to 50 retail and food-service customers. The facilities receiving the suspect meat are mostly in the South, Midwest and East Coast. Consumers can call the USDA hotline at (800) 535-4555 for information about the recall. A USDA spokeswoman acknowledged that some of the suspect meat may already have been consumed, but she noted that cooking the meat properly, at a high-enough temperature, kills the bacteria.