Nothing like a little E.coli to put a damper on a Memorial Day weekend barbecue. Buyer, beware: 1.8 million pounds of ground beef are being recalled due to a suspected E.coli outbreak at a large meat packing facility.
The poisoned patties reportedly came from Wolverine Packing Company, a meat packing plant in Detroit, Michigan. The U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service announced the recall on Monday after 11 people in four states fell ill with E.coli, which officials say likely came from tainted beef.
Ten of those people contracted the illness eating at a restaurant, but officials will not release the names of the eateries.
"People who were exposed were already exposed, so it doesn't help the public to tell them now that a certain restaurant was associated with these illnesses," David Goldman, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Public Health Science at the USDA, told CNN. "Our job really is to identify product that may still be available."
The FSIS is categorizing the recall as a “Class I” health hazard— one in which there is a “reasonable probability” that the product will cause severe health consequences or death. Stores included in the recall are: Gordon Food Service Marketplace stores in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Wisconsin; Surf N Turf Market in Sebring, Florida; Giorgio's Italian Delicatessen in Stuart, Florida; M Sixty Six General Store in Orleans, Michigan; Buchtel Food Mart in Buchtel, Ohio.
"While none of the Wolverine Packing product has tested positive for the pathogen implicated in this outbreak, the company felt it was prudent to take this voluntary recall action in response to the illnesses and initial outbreak investigation findings," Chuck Sanger, a spokesman for Wolverine Packing, said in a statement.
Noting that the meat from Wolverine Packing Company is sold as a variety of labels, U.S. Department of Agriculture officials warn consumers to stay away from any packaged ground beef purchased at a supermarket that has the code EST. 2574B and is dated March 31, 2014 to April 18, 2014.
E.coli is known for causing unpleasant gastrointestinal troubles like bloody diarrhea and dehydration. In extreme cases, it can cause kidney failure and death. The very young, very old and people with weak immune systems are especially susceptible.
Wolverine Packing Company can be reached at (262) 563-5118. Consumers can “Ask Karen,” the FSIS virtual representative, questions about food safety at AskKaren.gov.