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U. S. Department of Agriculture announces big ground beef recall

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) announced on May 19 a nationwide recall of ground beef that was processed by the Wolverine Packing Company in Detroit, MI. The recall covers 1.8 million pounds of ground beef that was processed between March 31 and April 18, 2014. It is feared the beef may be contaminated with the E. Coli bacteria.

The beef involved in the recall was shipped to distributers for restaurant and institutional food services nationwide. None of the products were distributed to the National School Lunch Program or the Department of Defense. A full list of the recalled products can be found at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/3a3ed84a-f07f-4cb5-b321-b07ddba9d650/recall-030-2014-products.pdf?MOD=AJPERES.

The reports of illness were made to FSIS on May 12. Working with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) the FSIS was able to backtrace the product, and they established a link between the illness clusters and the beef distributed by Wolverine.

There were reports of illness by 11 people in 4 different states.

Additional information about this recall can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/2014/O157H7-05-14/index.html.

E. Coli is a potentially deadly bacteria. The symptoms include dehydration, bloody diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. The symptoms usually appear 2 – 8 days after exposure. Most people recover within a week, but others may develop a certain type of kidney failure called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome. The age groups most at risk for serious complications are the elderly and children under 5 years old.

FSIS recommends cooking all ground beef products to a minimum internal temperature of 160 degrees F. That temperature will kill off harmful bacteria