Ground Beef E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak: Kansas Based Company Investigated
According to a press release from the Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) last week, Liberal, Kansas-based National Beef Packing Co. has issued a recall of at least 50,000 pounds of raw ground beef that may have become contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 bacteria.
The beef was sold to undisclosed retailers, wholesalers and food services nationwide in 40-60 pound cases, under the names NatureSource Natural Beef, Naturewell Natural Beef and National Beef commodity ground beef. According to the company, the beef was produced on July 18 and has a use by/freeze by date of August 7. The product is emblazoned with the USDA mark of inspection, and bears the establishment number 208A. As of now, no illnesses have been reported as yet, and the company is working closely with the USDA to reach out to those who purchased the beef.
Most infections with E. coli O157:H7 in meat come from improper handling. This is a concern, because an estimated 76,000 cases of E. coli infection are reported each year. According to a study published in 2005, the estimated annual cost of E. coli illnesses could be $405 million, including $5 million for lost productivity; $30 million for medical care; and $370 million for premature deaths.
Among the most common symptoms of E. coli O157:H7 infection include hemorrhagic colitis, which can result in abdominal pain or cramps, severe diarrhea and vomiting. The diarrhea can become bloody within 24 hours. In some cases, symptoms can also include headaches and fever. In most cases, symptoms will go away within a few days to a couple of weeks, although some extreme cases can result in the victim contracting hemolytic urenia syndrome (HUS), which can sometimes lead to kidney failure, which can result in death, or weeks, months or even years of dialysis.
This is not the first time this year that National Beef Packing Co. has had to recall beef for suspected E. coli contamination. In fact, it’s the second incident in a couple of months. In June, the company had to issue a recall for nearly 23,000 pounds of ground beef for the same reason. That recall included 10 lb. packages of several of their products, National Beef 80/20 Coarse Ground Chuck, with package code 0481; National Beef 81/19 Coarse Ground Beef, with package code 0421; and National Beef 80/20 Fine Ground Chuck, with package code 0484. Those products were produced on May 25, 2013, and they all feature a use/sell date of June 14, 2013. Those products were shipped to institutions and retail establishments and FSIS is still concerned that some product may still be in consumers’ freezers. Both product recalls were initiated after routine FSIS inspections.
If you believe you have purchased and consumed the products listed in these recalls, you should follow the recall. If you have any symptoms of E. coli infection, you should see a doctor immediately.
The Texas Food Poisoning Lawyers at Hill Law Firm have plenty of experience getting the largest companies in the nation to pay attention when we represent our clients in food borne illness cases. If you or a loved one has been sickened by food contamination or poisoning, please call the Texas Food Poisoning Injury Lawyers at Hill Law Firm immediately