Congressional and Public Affairs
WASHINGTON, Aug. 15, 2014 – Whole Foods Market locations, South Weymouth, Mass. and Newton, Mass., are recalling 368 pounds of ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.
125 lbs. of the following ground beef products produced on June 8, 2014 at the Newton, Mass. location are subject to recall:
170 lbs. of the following ground beef products produced on June 10, 2014 at the Newton, Mass. location are subject to recall:
73 lbs. of the following ground beef products produced on June 21, 2014 at the South Weymouth, Mass. location are subject to recall:
FSIS was notified of an investigation of E. coli O157:H7 illnesses on June 25, 2014. Working in conjunction with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), FSIS determined that there is a link between ground beef purchased at Whole Foods Market and this illness cluster. Based on epidemiologic investigation, 3 case-patients have been identified in Massachusetts with illness onset dates ranging from June 13, 2014 to June 25, 2014. While the onset of illnesses was in June, on August 13, 2014, additional laboratory results provided linkages between the 3 MA case-patients and ground beef purchased from Whole Foods. Traceback investigation indicated that all 3 case-patients consumed ground beef purchased from 2 Whole Foods Market prior to illness onset. FSIS is continuing to work with state and federal public health partners on this investigation to determine a common source and will provide updated information as it becomes available.
E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause dehydration, bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps 2–8 days (3–4 days, on average) after exposure the organism. While most people recover within a week, some develop a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). This condition can occur among persons of any age but is most common in children under 5-years old and older adults. It is marked by easy bruising, pallor, and decreased urine output. Persons who experience these symptoms should seek emergency medical care immediately.
FSIS and the company are concerned that some product may be frozen and in consumers' freezers.
FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify their customers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers. When available, the retail distribution list(s) will be posted on the FSIS website at www.fsis.usda.gov/recalls.
FSIS advises all consumers to safely prepare their raw meat products, including fresh and frozen, and only consume ground beef that has been cooked to a temperature of 160 ° F. The only way to confirm that ground beef is cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria is to use a food thermometer that measures internal temperature, http://1.usa.gov/1cDxcDQ.
Consumers with questions regarding the recall can call (512) 477-5566 ext. 20060, and media can contact Kate Lowery, Senior Global Coordinator, PR, Media Relations at (512) 542-0390.
Consumers with food safety questions can "Ask Karen," the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at AskKaren.gov or via smartphone at m.askkaren.gov. The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from l0 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day. The online Electronic Consumer Complaint Monitoring System can be accessed 24 hours a day at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/reportproblem.
PREPARING PRODUCT FOR SAFE CONSUMPTION
USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline
Wash hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw meat and poultry. Wash cutting boards, dishes and utensils with hot, soapy water. Immediately clean spills.
Keep raw meat, fish and poultry away from other food that will not be cooked. Use separate cutting boards for raw meat, poultry and egg products and cooked foods.
Color is NOT a reliable indicator that meat has been cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria.
The only way to be sure the meat or poultry is cooked to a high enough temperature to kill harmful bacteria is to use a thermometer to measure the internal temperature.
Refrigerate raw meat and poultry within two hours after purchase or one hour if temperatures exceed 90º F. Refrigerate cooked meat and poultry within two hours after cooking.
|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.|