Health officials are once again urging consumers to check their freezers for certain ground beef products. Following a string of similar recalls in recent months, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) on Oct. 13 issued a public health alert for ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli.
The alert concerns raw ground beef products that were produced on October 4, 2022. The specific product subject to the health alert is 1-lb. plastic vacuum-packed packages containing "FRANK'S BUTCHER SHOP GROUND BEEF," which was sold by the establishment's retail store location in Hudson, Wyoming directly to consumers. The products of concern are packed in plastic vacuum-packed packages that contain "PACKED ON" dates of 10-07-2022 and 10-09-2022 on the label. Images of the labels can be viewed by clicking here.
The health alert was issued after FBS Hudson's routine microbial testing results found Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) O103 in a sample of the ground beef. The FSIS noted that "many clinical laboratories do not test for non-O157 STEC, such as O103 because it is harder to identify than STEC 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, including Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC), such as O103, can make people sick. Most people infected with STEC O103 develop diarrhea and vomiting. Although most people recover within a week, some illnesses last longer and can be more severe. In rare instances, a more severe infection develops.
There have been no confirmed illnesses in relation to the affected ground beef products, and the FSIS noted that "a recall was not requested because the products are no longer available for purchase." However, there remains concern that the ground beef products may still be in consumers' refrigerators or freezers. The FSIS has advised that consumers who purchased the affected products do not consume them and instead throw them away or return them to the place of purchase. The FSIS also reminded consumers "to safely prepare their raw meat products, including fresh and frozen, and only consume ground beef that has been cooked to a temperature of 160°F."
The health alert marks just the latest notice from health officials affecting ground beef and follows an August-issued health alert for certain Hawaii Big Island Beef-brand ground beef products, which were found to possibly be contaminated with E. coli. Prior to that, ground beef sold at the Hannaford store in Ballston Spa, New York was recalled.