A Merced company has recalled year-old hamburger meat distributed in California and elsewhere after at least three Napa County children became ill with a virulent strain of E. coli, health officials said Friday.
The meat was produced by Richwood Meat Co. on April 28, 2006, dated either “4-28-06" or “118-6,” for the 118th day of the year, said Mike Wood, the company’s president. Although the product was manufactured a year ago, the patties still may be present in freezers at home or in stores, officials said.
The products were distributed to institutional food services, food distributors, discount grocers and retail outlets such as WinCo and Vons, officials said. The recalled meat also was shipped to Arizona, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.
The tainted hamburger patties were served at a concessionaire stand at a Little League field in St. Helena, Calif., about 65 miles north of San Francisco. Health officials found the E. coli strain in remaining frozen hamburger stored by the stand and by the store that sold it the meat, Salami Lady’s Cash & Carry.
Health officials urged the public to throw away any of the recalled meat or return it to the store where it was purchased.
“Do not eat it. No matter if you cook it until it’s black, do not eat it,” said Napa County public health spokeswoman Theresa Richmond.
The ill children suffered from bloody diarrhea for three to five days, but none developed the more serious complications of E. coli infection that result in kidney failure, said Napa public health officer Dr. Karen Smith.
All three children confirmed to have contracted E. coli have recovered, as well as two additional children who showed similar symptoms, Smith said. There have been no new illnesses reported since April 4.
The recalled products carry the brand names Fireriver, Ritz Food Service, Chef’s Pride, Blackwood Farms, California Pacific Associates, C&C; Distributing, Golbon and Richwood.