U.S – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s  (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has announced the recall of approximately 28,356 pounds of ground beef products by Interstate Meat Distributors Inc., a meat processing company located in Clackamas, Ore, United States, that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7

The recall occurred after Consumer Reports’ tests found the  deadly strain of E. coli in a package of Kroger-branded meat produced by the company. Consumer Reports (CR), formerly Consumers Union, is an American nonprofit consumer organization dedicated to independent product testing, investigative journalism, consumer-oriented research, public education, and consumer advocacy.

The finding was part of a larger test of ground meat bought from supermarkets across the U.S.  The organization bought the contaminated raw ground beef on Dec. 30, 2021. The positive result for E. coli O157:H7 was confirmed by several tests.

FSIS conducted an assessment of the third-party laboratory’s accreditation and methodologies and determined the results were actionable.

“We quickly notified the USDA of our findings. The agency rapidly worked with the distributor to issue a recall,” said James E. Rogers, PhD, Director of Food Safety Testing and Research at CR.

The raw, ground beef items under recall were produced on Dec. 20, 2021 and bear the establishment number  “EST. 965” inside the USDA mark of inspection or printed next to the time stamp and use or freeze by date.

These items were shipped to retail locations in Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.                      

E.coli risks

E.coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause dehydration, bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps 2–8 days (3–4 days, on average) after exposure to the organism.

While most people recover within a week, some develop a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). This condition can occur among persons of any age but is most common in children under 5-years old and older adults.

It is marked by easy bruising, pallor, and decreased urine output. Persons who experience these symptoms should seek emergency medical care immediately.

Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. They should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase for a refund.

FSIS has counselled all consumers to safely prepare their raw meat products, including fresh and frozen, and only consume ground beef that has been cooked to a temperature of 160 °F (710c). The only way to confirm that ground beef is cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria is to use a food thermometer that measures internal temperature.

The department routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify their customers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers.

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