E. coli Fears Spark Ground Beef Recall

Consumers are once again being advised against eating a ground beef product. Amid a recall of ground beef sold at the Hannaford store in Ballston Spa, New York, on Thursday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a public health alert warning consumers that Hawaii Big Island Beef-brand ground beef products may be contaminated with E. coli, a bacterium that can be life-threatening.

The alert concerns seven Hawaii Big Island Beef brand ground beef products that were produced on August 8, 2022, and shipped to retail and restaurant locations in Hawaii. The specific products included in the FSIS alert include 1-lb. vacuum-sealed packages containing "Ground Beef (80) Fine 1#/pkg" with case code "134R1;" 1-lb. vacuum-sealed packages containing "Ground Beef (Ln) Fine 1#/pkg" with case code "135R1;" 2-lb. vacuum-sealed packages containing "Ground Beef (80) Fine 2#/pkg" with case code "134R2;" 10-lb. bags containing "Ground Beef (80) Fine 10# Poly Bag" with case code "0134P10;" 10-lb. vacuum-sealed packages containing "Ground Beef (75) Fine 10# Vac Seal" with case code "130R10;" 10-lb. vacuum-sealed packages containing "Ground Beef (80) Fine 10# Vac Seal" with case code "134R10;" and 40-lb. box containing four 10-lb chubs of "Ground Beef (80) Fine 10#" with case code "0134." All of the products have "Packed 08/08/22" and "Lot 220808" on the label and bear the establishment number "EST. 1063" inside the USDA mark of inspection.

The FSIS issued the alert after it was discovered "during an assessment of the establishment's production records associated with a sample that tested positive for E. coli O157:H7." Escherichia coli, commonly abbreviated as E. coli, are bacteria found in the environment, foods, and intestines of people and animals. While some strains are harmless, others, such as Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC), can make people sick, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Symptoms include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting. Some people may also experience a fever. Symptoms can appear three to four days after exposure to contaminated foods, though the CDC notes illnesses can start anywhere from 1 to 10 days after exposure.

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There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of Hawaii Big Island Beef ground beef products, the alert said. The FSIS noted that "a recall was not requested because the products are no longer available for purchase." However, there is concern that the product may be in consumers' refrigerators or freezers. Consumers who purchased the affected products are advised not to eat them and instead throw the products away.