|Food Safety and Inspection
United States Department of Agriculture
Washington, D.C. 20250-3700
HEALTH RISK: HIGH
and Public Affairs
|WASHINGTON, Feb. 24, 2004 — Richwood Meat Co.,
Inc., a Merced, Calif., firm, is voluntarily recalling approximately 90,000
pounds of frozen ground beef and beef patties that may be contaminated with
E. coli O157:H7.
The products were produced on August 11, 2003. They were distributed to U.S. military installations in the Far East and to retail stores and institutions in California, Washington, Oregon and Idaho.
The recall was prompted after testing conducted by a laboratory in Japan determined the presence of E. coli O157:H7. Testing was prompted by the reports of several recent illnesses in Japan. No illnesses related to products distributed in the U.S. have been reported.
The products subject to recall include:
E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacteria that can cause bloody diarrhea and dehydration. The very young, seniors and persons with compromised immune systems are the most susceptible to foodborne illness.
Media and consumers with questions about the recall may contact Company President John C. Wood at 209-722-8171.
Consumers with other food safety questions can phone the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHOTLINE. The hotline is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time), Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day.
NOTE: Access news releases and other information at the FSIS Web site at http://www.fsis.usda.gov
|PREPARING GROUND BEEF FOR SAFE CONSUMPTION
USDA Meat and
Although the product being recalled should be returned to the place of purchase, consumers preparing other ground beef products should heed the following advice.
Consumers should only eat ground beef patties that have been cooked to a safe temperature of 160 ºF. When a ground beef patty is cooked to 160 ºF throughout, it can be safe and juicy, regardless of color.
The only way to be sure a ground beef patty is cooked to a high enough temperature to kill harmful bacteria is to use an accurate digital instant-read thermometer.
Color is not a reliable indicator that ground beef patties have been cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria such as E. coli O157:H7.
Eating a pink or red ground beef patty without first verifying that the safe temperature of 160 ºF has been reached is a significant risk factor for foodborne illness.
Thermometer use to ensure proper cooking temperature is especially important for those who cook or serve ground beef patties to people most at risk for foodborne illness because E. coli O157:H7 can lead to serious illness or even death. Those most at risk include young children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems.
USDA RECALL CLASSIFICATIONS
Class I This is a health hazard situation where there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death.
Class II This is a health hazard situation where there is a remote probability of adverse health consequences from the use of the product.
Class III This is a situation where the use of the product will not cause adverse health consequences.
For Further Information, Contact:
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