FSIS Issues Public Health Alert for Expansion of Imported Canadian Raw Boneless Beef Trim from XL Foods

Congressional and Public Affairs
(202) 720-9113
Richard J. McIntire

WASHINGTON, September 21, 2012 –The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is announcing additional information related to the Sept. 20 Public Health Alert for raw boneless beef trim products imported from Canada that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. FSIS is including two additional production dates in its alert.

PREPARING GROUND BEEF FOR SAFE CONSUMPTION

USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline
1-888-MPHOTLINE or visit
www.fsis.usda.gov

Wash hands before and after handling raw meat with warm/hot (preferred) or cold soapy running water by rubbing hands together vigorously for at least 20 seconds. Also wash cutting boards, dishes and utensils with hot (preferred), soapy water and clean up any spills right away. The mechanical action of vigorous rubbing of hands and utensils/surfaces creates friction that helps to dislodge bacteria and viruses from hands and surfaces.

Additionally, warm/hot water helps to dissolve fats/foods, aiding in cleaning/microbe removal and can also assist in deactivation of pathogens. For more information on hand washing, go to http://www.cdc.gov/
handwashing
.

If soapy water is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations. However, sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs, including viruses.

Keep raw meat, fish and poultry away from other food that will not be thoroughly cooked. Use separate cutting boards for raw meat, poultry, and their juices and thoroughly cooked foods. Thoroughly cook ground meat such as beef to an internal temperature of 160° F, as measured with a food thermometer, before eating. Refrigerate raw meat and poultry within two hours after purchase (one hour if temperatures exceed 90° F). Refrigerate cooked meat and poultry within two hours after cooking.
FSIS testing of raw boneless beef trim product from Canadian Establishment 38, XL Foods, Inc., confirmed positive for E. coli O157:H7 on September 3, 2012. FSIS alerted the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) of the positive results. After follow-up testing by FSIS and CFIA, the CFIA announced a recall by XL Foods, Inc. of a variety of ground beef products on Sept. 16, which was the subject of yesterday’s public health alert. Subsequently, the CFIA has expanded the scope of the recall to now include the production dates of Aug. 27 and Aug. 29, 2012.

The company has notified its customers, including U.S. establishments that beef trim associated with the recall was shipped to them. FSIS is working expeditiously to perform effectiveness checks to confirm that all trim received at FSIS-inspected establishments from Canadian Establishment 38, either received a full lethality treatment or that no raw trim was further distributed and manufactured into other not-ready-to-eat product. In addition, for products that may have been further distributed and manufactured into other not-ready-to-eat product, FSIS is working to confirm that actions are being taken to remove the product from commerce. FSIS is taking all necessary steps to ensure that all raw ground products produced from the recalled trim are removed from commerce.

While the investigation continues, FSIS is issuing a Public Health Alert to inform food service operations and consumers. The products subject to the Canadian recall were distributed to U.S. establishments in the following states: California, Michigan, Nebraska, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin. At the U.S. establishments, these products may have been further processed into various products, such as ground beef or ground beef patties. FSIS will continue to provide information as it becomes available, including information about any related recall. When available, the retail distribution list will be posted on FSIS' website at website at www.fsis.usda.gov/FSIS_Recalls/Open_Federal_Cases/index.asp .

E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration, and in the most severe cases, kidney failure. The very young, seniors and persons with weak immune systems are the most susceptible to foodborne illness.

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.

Consumers with food safety questions can "Ask Karen," the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at 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.
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Last Modified Jul 22, 2013