Cargill Meat Solutions, based in Fort Morgan, Colorado, has recalled over 130,000 pounds of ground beef due to possible E. coli contamination. The beef recall affects a dozen Cargill Meat products.
According to Wednesday's release by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the products were made from the "chuck portion of the carcass" and may be contaminated with "Escherichia coli O26."
The recall applies to approximately 132,606 pounds of ground beef products.
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Products affected by this ground beef recall due to E. coli contamination
There are 12 products affected by this Cargill beef recall. They all have establishment number "EST. 86R," were produced and packaged on June 21, 2018 and have a "use or freeze by" date of July 11.
FSIS tells consumers who have purchased the ground beef in question to throw it away. FSIS also advises consumers to safely prepare and fully cook their raw meat and to "only consume ground beef that has been cooked to a temperature of 160°F."
View labels for the products here.
The Cargill products affected by this beef recall are the following:
3-lb. chubs of “OUR CERTIFIED 73/27 FINE GRIND GROUND BEEF” with case code 00228749057646.
3-lb. chubs of “OUR CERTIFIED 73/27 FINE GRIND GROUND BEEF” with case code 00228749002653.
10-lb. chubs of “EXCEL 73/27 FINE GRIND GROUND BEEF” with case code 00228749089098.
10-lb. chubs of “EXCEL 73/27 FINE GRIND GROUND BEEF” with case code 90028749002751.
10-lb. chubs of “EXCEL 81/19 FINE GRIND GROUND BEEF” with case code 90028749003536.
10-lb. chubs of “EXCEL GROUND BEEF 81/19 FINE GRIND” with case code 00228749003568.
10-lb. chubs of “EXCEL CHUCK GROUND BEEF 81/19 FINE GRIND” with case code 90028749402773.
20-lb. chubs of “EXCEL 81/19 FINE GRIND GROUND BEEF COMBO” with case code 90028749073935.
10-lb. chubs of “Sterling Silver CHUCK GROUND BEEF 81/19 FINE GRIND” with case code 00228749702416.
10-lb. chubs of “CERTIFIED ANGUS BEEF CHUCK GROUND BEEF 81/19 FINE GRIND” with case code 90028749802405.
10-lb. chubs of “CERTIFIED ANGUS BEEF CHUCK GROUND BEEF 81/19 FINE GRIND” with case code 00228749802413.
10-lb. chubs of “Fire River Farms CLASSIC GROUND BEEF 81/19 FINE GRIND” with case code 90734730297241.
E. coli contamination information
These affected products were flagged after the FSIS was notified on August 16 of an investigation regarding E. coli O26 illnesses. This investigation now identifies 17 illnesses and one death related to potential contamination.
The onset of illness ranged from July 5 to July 25, 2018.
Symptoms include diarrhea (often bloody) and vomiting. Some people may develop severe infection. Kidney failure (with symptoms like easy bruising, pallor and decreased urine) is common with this infection. Kids under 5, older adults and "persons with weakened immune systems," are more at risk, FSIS reports.
People can get sick two to eight days after exposure and most recover within a week. FSIS urges consumers with symptoms to contact a doctor.
Due to this ongoing investigation, there were two resulting actions: a Cargill beef recall and a recall of ground beef products sold by Publix on August 30. In both cases, raw beef products are made from chuck that may have been contaminated with Escherichia coli O26.
FSIS confirmed to Metro that the Cargill beef recall was identified "following further investigation related to" the Publix recall. The CDC then clarified that Cargill products were in fact the source of the E. coli contamination in all cases.
"Traceback investigation by USDA-FSIS identified Cargill Meat Solutions as the source of the contaminated ground beef linked to illness," a CDC spokesperson told us, "including the recalled ground beef sold at Publix stores in Florida."
The CDC is officially calling this an E. coli outbreak. To view their safety notice, click through to the CDC website.
This case is being classified as a Class I recall, unlike last week's Class II recall of potential hard plastic pieces in over 42K lbs of Bob Evans pork sausage. A Class I recall means there is "reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death."
A statement sent to Metro from Cargill Meat Solutions, reads as follows: "We were distressed to learn a fatality may be related to an E. coli contamination of one of our products. Our hearts go out to the families and individuals affected by this issue. We want to make sure that consumers understand how to identify and safely dispose of any questionable ground chuck. All affected product was pulled from supermarket shelves, but consumers may still have it in their freezers, so it is important that they take action to prevent possible illness."
"We are working in lock step with the USDA to notify consumers," the statement continues, advising that, if there's "any doubt" about a product, "throw it out."
"At Cargill, food safety is something we work hard at every day," the company says. "Internal and external food safety teams are assessing the processes at Fort Morgan and our other facilities to ensure we continue to deliver safe food to our customers and consumers."