Cargill Meat Solutions Corp., a Wyalusing, Pa. establishment, is recalling approximately 8,500 pounds of ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O26.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) became aware of the problem on August 5, 2010 when the agency was notified by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources of an E. coli O26 cluster of illnesses. In conjunction with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Maine Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources, the New York State Department of Health, and New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets, two case-patients have been identified in Maine, as well as one case-patient in New York with a rare, indistinguishable PFGE pattern as determined by PFGE subtyping in PulseNet. FSIS determined that there is an association between the ground beef products subject to recall and the cluster of illnesses.
FSIS regulations and statute allow the agency to take action on a product under its jurisdiction in cases where the product is convincingly associated to illness by evidence collected though an epidemiological, traceback investigation, and/or laboratory analysis. FSIS is continuing to work with affected state public health partners and the company on the investigation.
E. coli O26 is a 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 health care provider.
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. 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 Foerster.