|Food Safety and Inspection
United States Department of Agriculture
Washington, D.C. 20250-3700
Media Communications Office
(202) 720-9113; FAX: (202) 690-0460
Contact: Elizabeth Gaston
Pager: 1-800-759-8888 PIN 1332897
WASHINGTON, Dec. 25, 1999--Supreme Beef Processors, Inc., a Dallas, Tex., meat processing company, is voluntarily recalling approximately 180,000 pounds of ground beef that may be contaminated with the harmful strain of E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced today.
Supreme Beef is recalling all ground beef and ground beef products with a ''sell-by'' date of Dec. 28 and the label ''Supreme Beef Processors, Inc.'' or ''Spiritas Farms,'' each bearing the establishment number 7143. These products include one, two, and five pound packages of ground beef and patties. Also included in the recall is Supreme Beef Processors, Inc. five- and ten-pound chubs of ground beef with sell by dates of Jan. 4 or 5, 2000.
The product was produced on Dec. 20 and distributed in at least eight states, including Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi, Florida, and New Mexico.
USDA discovered the problem after ground beef sampled at Supreme Beef's Dallas grinding plant tested positive on Dec. 25 for E. coli O157:H7.
E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacteria 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.
''Because of the potential hazard of foodborne illness from consumption of undercooked or underprocessed meat products contaminated with harmful pathogens, we urge consumers who have purchased the suspect product not to eat it and return it to the place of purchase,'' said Philip Derfler, acting administrator of USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service. ''USDA is informing the public so consumers who may have purchased and stored product in their freezers or refrigerators can know to check,'' Derfler said.
At this point, FSIS has received no reports of illness associated with these products. Anyone concerned about an illness should contact a physician immediately.
Consumers with questions about the recall may phone Supreme Beef president Steven F. Spiritas at 214-428-1761.
Consumers with questions about food safety may phone the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-800-535-4555. The hotline is staffed from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern time) Monday through Friday, and recorded information is available 24 hours a day.
NOTE: Access news releases and other information on the FSIS Web site at http://www.fsis.usda.gov
NOTE TO EDITORS: Media inquiries to the company should be directed to: Frank Kauffman, 202-828-8804, or Jim Mulhern, 202-828-8847, both of Fleishman Hillard Inc., for Supreme Beef Processors.
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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