Where's the Beef ?

WHERE’S THE BEEF ?

 
 
hamburger, holiday

Patriotic Girl with Hamburger

Stop! Stop!

Before you fire up that grill check your ground beef!  Millions of households all over this country are firing up the grill to cook ground beef this Memorial Day holiday.  But do you know if your ground beef is safe?  But how would you know. The recent news headlines seems to be dominated by an upcoming celebrity wedding.  Not knowing the source of your ground beef could be very hazardous to your health.

On May 19, 2014 the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and (USDA-FSIS) announced a Class I alert that they were investigating a multistate outbreak of bacterial contamination of ground beef.  A Class I alert basically states that eating this product will cause serious health problems or death. The same day a Michigan Company, Wolverine Packing Company, announced they were recalling almost 2 MILLION POUNDS of ground beef that might have been contaminated. The ground beef products were produced between March 31, 2014 and April 18, 2014.

 

Ground Beef in Package

Ground Beef for sale

On the initial day of the alert the count was 11 persons in 4 states, 0 deaths and 60% of those affected were hospitalized. None had developed the potentially fatal kidney failure known as Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome.

These were people who sick from April 22, 2014 to May 2, 2014. They ranged in age from 19 to 46 years old. Over 50% were male. This illness can affect all ages.

The CDC says illnesses that started after May 1, 2014 may not have been reported yet because it can take 2 to 4 weeks from the time a person is made ill to the time it is reported.

 

The bacteria responsible for contaminating the ground beef is the Shiga toxin-producing E. coli 0157: H7.  This is the same E. coli the CDC has sent alerts out yearly since 2006. It has been found in lettuce,  cheese, poultry and spinach to name a few.

This type of E. coli can cause severe diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, kidney failure and possibly death.

 

The ground beef recalled on the 19th of May was believed to have been distributed to a limited number of retail establishments in 4 states but by May 24th this list had grown to 10 states.

 

Check your ground beef. If you have any of the recalled ground beef do not try to cook and eat it. Freezing will not kill the bacteria . Do not take a chance! Throw it away.  For all other meat products including beef make sure you wash hands with warm soapy water before and after handling it. Wash all utensils and do not forget those cutting boards.

hamburger patties

Beef Patties

 

For additional information check out the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline:

1-800-MPHotline or visit http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/home

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