Categorized | Business, Health, Recalls

Colorado firm expands recall of beef products due to possible E. coli contamination

MEDIA RELEASE

WASHINGTON, June 28, 2009 – JBS Swift Beef Company, a Greeley, Colo., establishment is voluntarily expanding its June 24 recall to include approximately 380,000 pounds of assorted beef primal 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.

Together with traceback information and laboratory data, the recall is being expanded as a result of FSIS’ cooperation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in an ongoing investigation into 24 illnesses in multiple states, of which at least 18 appear to be associated. This investigation prompted the company to re-examine the effectiveness of their food safety system for the April 21 production of beef primals, and they are conducting this recall out of an abundance of caution as the safety of the products produced on a portion of that day could not be assured.

The beef products were produced on April 21, 2009 and were distributed both nationally and internationally. A list of the products subject to the expanded recall attached. [Editor’s note: see recall list here]

Each box bears the establishment number “EST. 969” inside the USDA mark of inspection as well as the identifying package date of “042109” and a time stamp ranging from “0618” to “1130.” However, these products were sent to establishments and retail stores nationwide for further processing and will likely not bear the establishment number “EST. 969” on products available for direct consumer purchase. Customers with concerns should contact their point of purchase.

The recalled products include intact cuts of beef, such as primals, sub-primals, or boxed beef typically used for steaks and roasts rather than ground beef. FSIS is aware that some of these products may have been further processed into ground products by other companies. The highest risk products for consumers are raw ground product, trim or other non-intact product made from the products subject to the recall.

E. coli O157:H7 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.

Media and consumer questions regarding the recall should be directed to the company’s Consumer Hotline at (800) 685-6328.

Consumers with food safety questions can “Ask Karen,” the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at AskKaren.gov. The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from l0 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day.

PREPARING GROUND BEEF FOR SAFE CONSUMPTION

USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline
1-888-MPHOTLINE or visit
www.fsis.usda.gov

Wash hands with soap and warm 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.

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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