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Beef recall, E.coli O157:H7 suspected

Posted by feww on June 29, 2009

20 people sickened by E.coli O157:H7

About 1/2 million pounds of beef recalled, E.coli O157:H7 contamination suspected

JBS-Swift Beef Co based in Greeley, Colorado, is expanding its June 24 recall  to a total of about 421,000 lbs of assorted beef products, USDA and the company said.

The recall is due to possible contamination by E.coli O157:H7 bacteria after about 20 people were sickened.  The recall includes meat products that were  processed on April 21 -22, 2009 and that have been sold nationally and internationally.

“The contamination may have come from further processing by other companies,” JBS spokesman said on Sunday.


Transmission electron micrograph of E. coli O157:H7 showing flagella. Pseudoreplica technique. Date: 1995. Photo Credit: Elizabeth H. White, M.S. / CDC

The recalled products are roasts and steaks rather than ground beef; however, the company cannot ruled out that  some of the beef may have been processed into ground products by intermediary resellers.

The products were  shipped to Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Wisconsin as well as overseas destinations.

A potentially deadly bacteria, Escherichia coli O157:H7 is a strain of the bacterium Escherichia coli which causes foodborne illness. The infection often leads to bloody diarrhea, dehydration and occasionally to kidney failure, especially in young children, the elderly and persons with weak immune system.

The infections are associated with

  • Eating undercooked, contaminated ground beef
  • Drinking unpasteurized milk
  • Swimming in  contaminated water
  • Eating contaminated vegetables

In the US consumers can call 1-800-685-6328 for further assistance.


A colorized version of PHIL 7137 depicting a highly magnified scanning electron micrographic (SEM) view of a dividing Escherichia coli bacteria, clearly displaying the point at which the bacteria’s cell wall was dividing; Magnification 21674x.

Escherichia coli is a Gram-negative bacterium that normally colonizes the digestive tract of most warm-blooded animals, including human beings. E. coli are facultative in nature, which means that they can adapt to their environments, switching between aerobic, and anaerobic metabolic growth depending environmental stresses. One strain of E. coli, O157:H7, causes an estimated 73,000 cases of infection, and 61 deaths in the United States each year. Infection often leads to bloody diarrhea, and occasionally to kidney failure. Most illness has been associated with eating undercooked, contaminated ground beef. Person-to-person contact in families and child care centers is also an important mode of transmission. Infection can also occur after drinking raw milk and after swimming in or drinking sewage-contaminated water. Content Providers: CDC/ Evangeline Sowers, Janice Haney Carr. Photo Date: 2005. Photo Credit: Janice Haney Carr

What is Escherichia coli?

Escherichia coli (abbreviated as E. coli) are a large and diverse group of bacteria. Although most strains of E. coli are harmless, others can make you sick. Some kinds of E. coli can cause diarrhea, while others cause urinary tract infections, respiratory illness and pneumonia, and other illnesses. Still other kinds of E. coli are used as markers for water contamination—so you might hear about E. coli being found in drinking water, which are not themselves harmful, but indicate the water is contaminated. It does get a bit confusing—even to microbiologists.

What are Shiga toxin-producing E. coli?

Some kinds of E. coli cause disease by making a toxin called Shiga toxin. The bacteria that make these toxins are called “Shiga toxin-producing” E. coli, or STEC for short. You might hear them called verocytotoxic E. coli (VTEC) or enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC); these all refer generally to the same group of bacteria. The most commonly identified STEC in North America is E. coli O157:H7 (often shortened to E. coli O157 or even just “O157”). When you hear news reports about outbreaks of “E. coli” infections, they are usually talking about E. coli O157. (Source: CDC.)

Related Links

This latest outbreak comes amid ongoing investigation into another Outbreak of E. coli O157:H7

Multistate Outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 Infections Linked to Eating Raw Refrigerated, Prepackaged Cookie Dough

Updated June 25, 2009

States Where Persons Infected with the Outbreak Strain of E. coli O157:H7 Live, United States, by State, March 1, 2009 to June 25, 2009

A map of the United States displaying cases of E. coli as of March 1, 2009 to June 25, 2009Click map to view a larger image.

Infections with the Outbreak Strain of E. coli O157:H7 By Date of Report to PulseNet

a chart showing, by month, infections related to E. coli O157:H7 reported to PulseNet.Click map to view a larger image.

CDC is collaborating with public health officials in many states, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to investigate an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections.

As of Thursday, June 25, 2009, 69 persons infected with a strain of E. coli O157:H7 with a particular DNA fingerprint have been reported from 29 states. Of these, 46 have been confirmed by an advanced DNA test as having the outbreak strain; these confirmatory test results are pending on the others. The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Arizona (2), California (3), Colorado (5), Connecticut (1), Delaware (1), Georgia (1), Iowa (2), Illinois (5), Kentucky (3), Massachusetts (4), Maryland (2), Maine (3), Minnesota (6), Missouri (1), Montana (1), North Carolina (2), New Hampshire (2), New Jersey (1), Nevada (2), Ohio (3), Oklahoma (1), Oregon (1), Pennsylvania (2), South Carolina (1), Texas (3), Utah (2), Virginia (2), Washington (6), and Wisconsin (1).

Ill persons range in age from 2 to 65 years; however, 64% are less than 19 years old; 73% are female. Thirty-four persons have been hospitalized, 9 developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS); none have died. Reports of these infections increased above the expected baseline in May and continue into June.

Investigation of the Outbreak

In an epidemiologic study, ill persons answered questions about foods consumed during the days before becoming ill and investigators compared their responses to those of persons of similar age and gender previously reported to State Health Departments with other illnesses. Preliminary results of this investigation indicate a strong association with eating raw prepackaged cookie dough. Most patients reported eating refrigerated prepackaged Nestle Toll House cookie dough products raw.

E. coli O157:H7 has not been previously associated with eating raw cookie dough. CDC, the state health departments, and federal regulatory partners are working together in this ongoing investigation.

Clinical Features

Most people infected with E. coli O157:H7 develop diarrhea (often bloody) and abdominal cramps 2-8 days (average of 3-4 days) after swallowing the organism, but some illnesses last longer and are more severe. Infection is usually diagnosed by culture of a stool sample. Most people recover within a week, but some develop a severe infection. A type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) can begin as the diarrhea is improving; this can occur in people of any age but is most common in children under 5 years old and the elderly.

Advice to Consumers

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are warning consumers not to eat any varieties of prepackaged Nestle Toll House refrigerated cookie dough due to the risk of contamination with E. coli O157:H7. If consumers have any prepackaged, refrigerated Nestle Toll House cookie dough products in their home they should throw them away. Cooking the dough is not recommended because consumers might get the bacteria on their hands and on other cooking surfaces. The recall does not include Nestle Toll House morsels, which are used as an ingredient in many home-made baked goods, or other already baked cookie products.

Individuals who have recently eaten prepackaged, refrigerated Toll House cookie dough and have experienced any of these symptoms should contact their doctor or health care provider immediately. Any such illnesses should be reported to state or local health authorities.

Consumers should be reminded they should not eat raw food products that are intended for cooking or baking before consumption. Consumers should use safe food-handling practices when preparing such products, including following package directions for cooking at proper temperatures; washing hands, surfaces, and utensils after contact with these types of products; avoiding cross contamination; and refrigerating products properly.
Advice to Retailers, Restaurateurs, and Food-service Operators

Retailers, restauranteurs, and personnel at other food-service operations should not sell or serve any Nestle Toll House prepackaged, refrigerated cookie dough products subject to the recall.

For additional information


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8 Responses to “Beef recall, E.coli O157:H7 suspected”

  1. […] Beef recall, E.coli O157:H7 suspected […]

  2. […] An image of E.coli bacteria provided by the USDA. The bacteria can cause diarrhea, dehydration, kidney failure and death.The Agriculture Department, which oversees meat safety in the US, said it concluded  “there is an association between the fresh ground beef products and illnesses in Connecticut, Maine and Massachusetts,” after a cluster of food-borne illnesses in New England was reported, and a New Hampshire resident had died consuming ground beef that may have been infected with the deadly E. coli bacteria. More images […]

  3. edro said

    Company issues 2nd recall for tainted beef
    “For the second time this year, a Fresno beef company is recalling thousands of pounds of ground beef contaminated with a drug-resistant strain of salmonella.

    “Beef Packers Inc., owned by Cargill, announced the recall Friday. It covers 22,723 pounds of ground beef products that were sent to stores in Arizona and New Mexico. …
    http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/food/2009-12-06-beef-recall_N.htm

    Beef sold in two states recalled over salmonella concerns
    “Beef Packers Inc., based in Fresno, California, recalled 22,723 pounds of ground beef products produced on September 23, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service said in a statement. The labels on the beef include the establishment number “EST. 31913,” the agency said.

    “The beef was repackaged at a distribution plant in Arizona, then sold under different retail brand names, the agency said. The agency’s statement did not identify brand names.

    The products were sold in Arizona and New Mexico …
    http://edition.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/12/06/beef.recall/

  4. […] An image of E.coli bacteria provided by the USDA. The bacteria can cause diarrhea, dehydration, kidney failure and death.The Agriculture Department, which oversees meat safety in the US, said it concluded  “there is an association between the fresh ground beef products and illnesses in Connecticut, Maine and Massachusetts,” after a cluster of food-borne illnesses in New England was reported, and a New Hampshire resident had died consuming ground beef that may have been infected with the deadly E. coli bacteria. More images […]

  5. steaklover said

  6. […] An image of E.coli bacteria provided by the USDA. The bacteria can cause diarrhea, dehydration, kidney failure and death.The Agriculture Department, which oversees meat safety in the US, said it concluded  “there is an association between the fresh ground beef products and illnesses in Connecticut, Maine and Massachusetts,” after a cluster of food-borne illnesses in New England was reported, and a New Hampshire resident had died consuming ground beef that may have been infected with the deadly E. coli bacteria. More images […]

  7. […] from Wisconsi… on Imported Food Alert 22 Oct…Cheese from Wisconsi… on Beef recall, E.coli O157:H7…Cheese from Wisconsi… on E. coli in Beef May Have Kille…Cheese from Wisconsi… […]

  8. […] Beef recall, E.coli O157:H7 suspected […]

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