|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 14, 2000--Packerland Packing Co., Inc., a Green Bay,
Wis., firm, is voluntarily recalling approximately 196,000 pounds of ground beef products
that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of
Agricultures Food Safety and Inspection Service announced today.
All ground beef products being recalled were shipped in boxes bearing "EST. 562-B" inside the USDA seal of inspection and the production date of "05/23/00." All boxes bear brand names of either "SYSCO Ground Beef" or "Packerland Ground Beef."
The recalled products were produced on May 23, and sent to distributors and wholesalers in New York, Maryland, Massachusetts, Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio, Illinois, New Hampshire, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania.
Consumers may wish to ask at the location where they buy ground beef if the establishment received any of the recalled product.
"Because of the potential hazard of 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 an FSIS traceback of an E. coli O157:H7 positive sample from a Bronx, N.Y., establishment reported last week.
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 Steven W. Van Lannen, vice-president of technical services at Packerland Packing, Inc., at (920) 406-2133.
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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