FSIS Issues Public Health Alert For Ground Beef Products Due To Possible E. Coli O157:H7 Contamination

Congressional and Public Affairs
Amanda Eamich
(202) 720-9113

WASHINGTON, August 30, 2007 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is issuing a public health alert for approximately 41,305 pounds of ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, that were produced at Interstate Meat Dist., Inc., a Clackamas, Ore., establishment.

Preparing Ground Beef For Safe Consumption

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

Although these products should be returned to the point of purchase, consumers preparing other ground beef products should heed the following advice.

Consumers should only eat ground beef patties that have been cooked to a safe temperature of 160 °F. When a ground beef patty is cooked to 160 °F 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 food 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 °F 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, seniors, and those with compromised immune systems.
This public health alert was initiated after epidemiological investigations conducted by the State of Oregon Department of Health Services and the Washington State Department of Health determined that there is a possible link between the ground beef products and eight confirmed E. coli O157:H7 illnesses reported in Oregon and Washington.

The products subject to this public health alert include: [View Labels, PDF Only]
  • 16-ounce packages of "Northwest Finest 7% FAT, NATURAL GROUND BEEF." The label bears a UPC code of "752907 600127."
  • 16-ounce packages of "Northwest Finest 10% FAT, Organic GROUND BEEF."

Each package also bears the establishment number "Est. 965" inside the USDA mark of inspection as well as a sell-by date between "08/01/07" and "08/11/07."

The ground beef products were produced on various dates between July 19 and July 30, 2007, and were distributed to retail establishments in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

Based on product shelf life, these products would no longer have been sold in grocery stores after August 5. However, these products could be in consumers' freezers and it is important that consumers look for and return these products if they find them.

Consumers and media with questions about the public health alert should contact company Public Relations Manager Loran Hickton at (360) 910-2636.

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

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