Ground beef recall expands to 5.3 million pounds – ‘unacceptable high levels of EColi’

July 4, 2008

So sad. Another out-of-control recall.  More ground beef. More sick people. A government on vacation. And stupid comments that would lead anyone to wonder, “what exactly is an acceptable level of EColi?”

Nebraska Beef Ltd. is expanding a recall announced earlier this week to include all 5.3 million pounds of meat it produced for ground beef between May 16 and June 26.

Federal investigators have linked Nebraska Beef’s products to an outbreak of E. coli illnesses affecting 41 people in Michigan and Ohio.

USDA spokesman Roger Sockman said investigators traced the meat back to Nebraska Beef after finding two samples of beef that tested positive for E. coli at processing plants that bought meat from Nebraska Beef.

Sockman said investigators then visited Nebraska Beef’s plant and found “unacceptable high levels of E. coli.”

Some Nebraska Beef products were sold by grocer Kroger Co. Kroger has recalled ground beef products in more than 20 states because the meat may have been contaminated.

At least two lawsuits tied to this E. coli outbreak already have been filed against Nebraska Beef and Kroger.

Attorney Fred Pritzker filed one of the lawsuits on behalf of a 20-year-old Ohio man who became ill with E. coli after eating ground beef from a Kroger store.

Twenty-two people have been hospitalized since the first case of E. coli linked to the beef was identified May 30, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One person has developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic-uremic syndrome.

The E. coli 0157:H7 variant can cause severe illness and even death in humans. Symptoms of E. coli infection include stomach cramps and diarrhea that may turn bloody within one to three days.

In February an undercover video showing crippled and sick animals being shoved with forklifts led to 143 million pounds of ground beef being recalled, the lagest in US hisory. Officials estimate that about 37 million pounds of the recalled beef went to school programs.,

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