Just days before the Memorial Day holiday weekend, the U.S Department of Agriculture announced a recall of over 62,000 pounds of raw beef over concerns of E. coli (Escherichia coli) contamination.
E. coli is a bacteria commonly found in the lower intestines of animals, including humans. For the most part, it is a completely harmless “bug.” On rare occasions, the bacteria can mutate, causing serious medical complications ranging from mild gastrointestinal cramping, to very serious and even life-threatening illness requiring hospitalization. In very rare instances, particularly in individuals that have already weakened immune systems, it can even cause death.
Heat can kill E. coli bacteria, but if you like your steak medium-rare or your burgers pink on the inside, this will not be sufficient to kill the bacteria. The best line of defense is to simply throw out the possibly contaminated product. If not, to be safe, all raw meat should be cooked until it is no longer pink. To avoid illness, use a thermometer to ensure that beef is cooked to at least 160 degrees. Freezing the meat will not kill the bacteria.
The Food Safety and Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the recall on May 23, 2019. The contaminated beef in question was packaged at the Aurora Packing Company in North Aurora, Illinois on or about April 19, 2019. The distribution of the beef was nationwide. The recalled beef contains an “EST. 788” stamp located inside the USDA mark of inspection. Some 40 different products were affected, including cuts of meat like ribs, brisket, ribeyes and other steaks. Check with your butcher before purchasing any beef this weekend.
The recall announcement can be found here:
A list of recalled products can be found here: https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/c639fdf0-d073-4822-8d70-d668cd548359/057-2019-List-of-Recall-Products.pdf?MOD=AJPERES
No reported cases of illness have been linked to the recall. However, if you suspect that you have eaten any of the recalled meat and are feeling symptoms similar to an upset stomach or worse, you should seek medical attention immediately.
If there are serious medical complications from eating contaminated meat, you may also need to speak with an attorney about your rights. It is not yet known whether there will be any legal action over the release of the contaminated beef, but you can contact the attorneys at Bahe Cook Cantley & Nefzger PLC. We are actively monitoring the legal situation and will be ready to respond on your behalf if necessary