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E. coli in Beef May Have Killed Two

Posted by feww on November 3, 2009

Another outbreak of E. coli bacteria in ground beef sickens 28 people with two deaths suspected

New York Firm Forced to Recall about 250 Metric Tons (546,000 lbs) of Ground Beef Products Due To Possible E. coli O157:H7 Contamination

Ecoli bacteria
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

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),  25 of those sickened  were in the Northeast, with 18 of them living in the six New England states. It’s believed that a common strain of E. coli bacteria was responsible for the infections, but tests are being carried out to eliminate other causes.

One of the two deaths  in New Hampshire was linked to the ground beef that was distributed by Fairbank Farms of Ashville, New York, State officials said. The second death in the Albany area from possible E. coli O157:H7 infection was being investigated, the New York State Health Department reported.

The following information is mirrored from the USDA site:

Fairbank Farms, an Ashville, NY, establishment, is recalling approximately 545,699 pounds of fresh ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

FSIS became aware of the problem during the course of an investigation of a cluster of E. coli O157:H7 illnesses. Working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state health and agriculture departments, FSIS determined that there is an association between the fresh ground beef products subject to recall and illnesses in Connecticut, Maine and Massachusetts. FSIS is continuing to work with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the Connecticut Department of Public Health, other state health and agriculture departments and the CDC on the investigation. Anyone with signs or symptoms of foodborne illness should consult a physician.

The products subject to recall include: [View Labels, PDF Only]

For product list click here: Fairbanks Farms Food Feast

E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration, and in the most severe cases, kidney failure. The very young, seniors and persons with weak immune systems are the most susceptible to foodborne illness. Individuals concerned about an illness should contact a physician.

SAFE PREPARATION OF FRESH AND FROZEN GROUND BEEF

From: USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline

  • Wash hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw meat and poultry. Wash cutting boards, dishes and utensils with hot, soapy water. Immediately clean spills.
  • Keep raw meat, fish and poultry away from other food that will not be cooked. Use separate cutting boards for raw meat, poultry and egg products and cooked foods.
  • Consumers should only eat ground beef or ground beef patties that have been cooked to a safe internal temperature of 160° F, whether prepared from fresh or frozen raw meat products.
  • Color is NOT a reliable indicator that ground beef or ground beef patties have been cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria such as E. coli O157:H7.
  • The only way to be sure ground beef is cooked to a high enough temperature to kill harmful bacteria is to use a thermometer to measure the internal temperature.
  • Refrigerate raw meat and poultry within two hours after purchase or one hour if temperatures exceed 90° F. Refrigerate cooked meat and poultry within two hours after cooking

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4 Responses to “E. coli in Beef May Have Killed Two”

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