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Luckily before the annual Labor Day grilling fests begin, the USDA has announced a beef recall due to possible E. coli contamination. The Valley Meat Company from Modesto, California, is recalling approximately one million pounds of frozen ground beef patties and bulk ground beef products, according to an announcement by Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) on August 6.
According to the FSIS, they were alerted to the possible contamination when notified by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) of a small cluster of a rare strain of E. coli illnesses. A report found a total of six patients with illness between the dates of April 8 and June 18, 2010. After further review, the Department of Health added another patient from February to the case count, bringing the total to seven. This investigation is on-going, so anyone with a possible food related illness should contact their doctor.
The products subject to the beef recall have the "establishment number" EST. 8268 inside the USDA mark of inspection and a production code of 27509 through 01210. These products were produced between Oct. 2, 2009 and Jan. 12, 2010 and were distributed to retail outlets and institutional foodservice providers in California, Texas, Oregon, Arizona and internationally. For a complete list of the recalled products, click here.
According to the FSIS, they and the Valley Meat Company are concerned that some product may still be frozen and in consumers' freezers. FSIS strongly encourages consumers to check their freezers and immediately discard any product that is part of this recall.
Consumers with questions regarding the recall may contact the company's spokespeople, Vanessa Smith at (916) 492-5314 or Brooke Burgess at (916) 492-5321. Consumers may also call a company sponsored help desk at (866) 221-6474.