|Food Safety and Inspection
United States Department of Agriculture
Washington, D.C. 20250-3700
|CLASS I RECALL
HEALTH RISK: HIGH
and Public Affairs
Nebraska Firm Recalls Ground Beef Products For Possible E. coli O157:H7
|WASHINGTON, Oct. 27,
2000--Omaha Steaks International, Inc., an Omaha, Neb., firm, is
voluntarily recalling approximately 22,000 pounds of frozen ground beef
products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S.
Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced
The ground beef products being recalled bear the establishment number "1198A" inside the USDA seal of inspection and a production code beginning with "07180" and ending with "21," "22," or "25." Products subject to recall are:
The ground beef was produced on July 18 and distributed via mail order; door-to-door sales; retail establishments; the Internet; and institutional sales nationwide.
The problem was discovered when Connecticut officials contacted FSIS about suspected illnesses. FSIS's samples of the product tested positive for E. coli O157:H7. A link between the illnesses and the product has not been confirmed.
"Because of the potential hazard of foodborne illness from consumption of meat products contaminated with harmful bacteria such as E. coli O157:H7, I urge consumers who have purchased the suspect product not to eat it and return it to the place of purchase," said Thomas Billy, FSIS administrator. "USDA is informing the public so consumers and institutions who may have purchased and stored the product in their refrigerators or freezers can know to check."
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.
Anyone concerned about an illness should contact a physician.
Media with questions about the recall may contact Sharon Bargas, public relations manager, Omaha Steaks, at (402) 597-3000. Customers with questions may contact the toll-free Omaha Steaks product safety information line, at (877) 789-7117. The information line can be reached from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Central Time) Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Central Time) on Saturday, and 12 p.m. through 5 p.m. (Central Time) on Sunday. Information can also be found on the Omaha Steaks website at http:// www.omahasteaks.com/safety.
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, and 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
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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