April 18, 2024

E. coli O121 and O103 Outbreak Associated with Ground Bison Sickens 21

An E. coli O121 and O103 outbreak likely linked to ground bison supplied by Northfork Bison Distributors has sickened at least 21 people in 7 states. This investigation into this outbreak is being conducted by the FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, since the supplier is in Québec, Canada.

E. coli O121 and O103 Outbreak Associated with Ground Bison Sickens 21

The CDC and FDA have analyzed traceback information to determine that ground bison supplied by Northfork Bison Distributors is the likely cause of this outbreak. The FDA regulates bison meat because authority to do so is not assigned specifically to the USDA in the Federal Meat Inspection Act.

The states where ill persons live are Connecticut, Florida, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Eight people have been hospitalized because they are so sick. We do not know the case count by state yet, or any information about the patient age range or the illness onset date range. We also don’t know whether or not any of the patients have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure. The last illness onset date was June 18, 2019. The CDC usually provides that information.

Northfork Bison Distributors Inc. is recalling its ground bison, referred to as Bison Ground, and ground bison patties, referred to as Bison Burgers and/or Buffalo Burgers, that were produced between February 22 and April 30, 2019. The bison patties were sold to retailers in 4 x 4-ounce blue boxes under the Northfork Bison label with expiration dates up to October 8, 2020.

Attorney Fred Pritzker

You can contact food safety attorney Fred Pritzker for help by calling 1-888-377-8900.

Like all ground meat, ground bison should be handled carefully and cooked to a minimum final internal temperature of 160°F to kill any bacteria. Pathogens can be on the surface of large cuts of meat. When they are ground, the bacteria is spread all through the meat. Then, if burgers made of that meat are not cooked to 160°F, the pathogens will survive and can make someone sick.

Symptoms of an E. coli infection include a mild fever, vomiting, severe and painful abdominal cramps, and diarrhea that is usually bloody and/or watery. Symptoms usually start a few days after exposure to the pathogen. If you have eaten this ground bison and have been ill, see your doctor. You may be part of this E. coli O121 and O103 outbreak.

If you purchased ground bison or bison burgers produced by Northfork Bison Distributors, don’t eat it, even if you do plan to cook it thoroughly, because of the risk of cross-contamination. Throw the meat away in a sealed container, or take it back to the place of purchase for a refund. Wash your hands well with soap and water after handling these products.

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