Valley Meat Company, a Modesto, Calif. establishment, is recalling approximately one million pounds (= 450000kg) of frozen ground beef patties and bulk 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 last Friday.
FSIS became aware of the problem on July 15 when the agency was notified by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) of a small E. coli O157:H7 cluster of illnesses with a rare strain as determined by PFGE subtyping. A total of six patients with illness onset dates between April 8 and June 18, 2010 were reported at that time. After further review, CDPH added another patient from February to the case count, bringing the count to seven. FSIS is continuing to work with the CDPH and the company on the investigation. Anyone with signs or symptoms of foodborne illness should contact a health care provider.
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.
FSIS advises 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 (=72ºC). 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.
Aporte Claudia Foester