|Food Safety and Inspection
United States Department of Agriculture
Washington, D.C. 20250-3700
|CLASS I RECALL
HEALTH RISK: HIGH
and Public Affairs
|WASHINGTON, June 6, 2000--Mega Meats, Inc., a Bronx, N.Y., firm, is
voluntarily recalling approximately 420 pounds of ground beef that may be contaminated
with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agricultures Food Safety and
Inspection Service announced today.
The ground beef was packaged on May 31 and distributed to restaurants in the Bronx, Manhattan, and lower Westchester County, N.Y. Ten-pound bags of "Mega Meats Ground Beef" were shipped with "EST. 18661" inside the USDA mark of inspection.
Consumers may wish to ask at the restaurants where they buy meals containing ground beef if the restaurant received any of the recalled product.
"Because of the potential for foodborne illness, we want consumers to be aware of the recall," said Thomas J. Billy, administrator of FSIS. "This is an opportunity to remind consumers to always follow the safe handling instructions required on all raw meat and poultry products and cook ground beef to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F."
The problem was discovered through routine FSIS microbiological sampling.
E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly pathogen that can cause bloody diarrhea and dehydration. The very young, the elderly, and persons with compromised immune systems are the most susceptible to foodborne illness.
FSIS has received no reports of illnesses associated with consumption of this product. Anyone concerned about an illness should contact a physician.
Consumers and media with questions about the recall may contact Jerome Rascona, vice president, Mega Meats, Inc., at (718) 231-2010.
Consumers with food safety questions can phone the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-800-535-4555. The hotline can be reached from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday.
NOTE: Access news releases and other information at the FSIS Web site at http://www.fsis.usda.gov
|PREPARING GROUND BEEF FOR SAFE CONSUMPTION
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:
Consumers: Meat and Poultry Hotline, 1-800-535-4555 (voice); 1-800-256-7072 (TTY)
Media: (202) 720-9113
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