Seven people in Massachusetts have fallen ill, most likely after eating beef sold at Whole Foods Market, leading the grocery chain yesterday to recall all ground beef sold between June 2 and Aug. 6.
This is the third time this summer that consumers have had to worry about what's in their refrigerators. First, it was fear of tomatoes tainted with salmonella - though the culprits turned out be jalapeño peppers. Then, worries about contaminated ground beef at the Kroger grocery chain.
This time, the source of the dangerous meat was probably a Whole Foods supplier, Coleman Natural Beef, whose meat is processed by Nebraska Beef Ltd., which was also involved in the Kroger contamination. Straight to the source, Whole Foods Recalls Beef .
Nebraska Beef, Ltd., an Omaha, Neb., establishment is recalling approximately 1.2 million pounds of primal cuts, subprimal cuts and boxed beef that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced today.
These beef products were produced on June 17, June 24 and July 8, 2008. The shipping containers and product labels bear the establishment number “EST. 19336” inside the USDA mark of inspection as well as the brand “Coleman Natural.” However, these products were sent to establishments and retail stores nationwide for further processing and will likely not bear the establishment number “EST. 19336” on products available for direct consumer purchase.
Consumers with questions about the recall should contact company Vice President of Administration James Timmerman at 402-733-0456. Media with questions about the recall should contact company representative William Lamson at (402) 397-7300.
The problem was discovered through a joint investigation with state departments of health and agriculture, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and FSIS. To date, 31 cases in 12 states and Canada have been identified in the investigation.
FSIS is continuing its investigation into any products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 or that are associated with illnesses and will take appropriate action when necessary.
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. Anyone with signs or symptoms of foodborne illness should consult a medical professional. Full Recall