November 5, 2020

Ground Beef Sickens One in Illinois; non-O157 E. coli Found in Meat

Ground beef sickens one in Macoupin County, Illinois, according to a press release from the Illinois Department of Agriculture. A public health alert has been issued for ground beef sold at David B’s Custom Meats in Carlinville, Illinois. While officials found non-O157 E. coli bacteria in the meat, they did not state that the ill person is sick with any type of E. coli infection.

Ground Beef Sickens One in Illinois; non-O157 E. coli Found in Meat

The ground beef was prepared at that Type II facility, which is custom exempt, at the beginning of 2020 to the current date. Custom exempt meat products are not inspected and cannot be offered for sale to the public. So a recall of the ground beef was not requested. Instead, the DOH is issuing a public health alert about the problem.

A resident of Macoupin County notified local public health officials about getting sick after eating ground beef. The sample collected from the remaining product tested positive for non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing E. coli bacteria.

Officials do not know how much of the ground beef has been produced. But they are concerned that some of the beef is in consumers’ home freezers. Please check your freezer carefully. If you have any of this custom ground beef produced at David B’s Custom Meats in Carlinville, Illinois, throw it away in a sealed package, or take it back to the store where you purchased it. Do not eat it even if you plan to cook it thoroughly.

Attorney Fred Pritzker

You can contact food safety attorney Fred Pritzker for help if you have contracted food poisoning by calling 1-888-377-8900 or 612-338-0202.

Shiga toxin-producing E. coli bacteria (STEC) is a potentially deadly pathogen that can cause serious illness and death. The main strain is E. coli O157:H7. The six non-O157 E. coli strains (O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, and O145) can also cause serious illness. The press release did not state which strain of E. coli was found in the ground beef.

Symptoms of an E. coli infection include a mild fever, nausea and vomiting, severe and painful abdominal cramps, and diarrhea that is watery and bloody. In some populations, especially children under the age of five, a complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome can develop. This is a type of kidney failure and can be fatal. Anyone experiencing the symptoms of an E. coli infection and/or HUS should see a doctor immediately.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture tells all consumers to only consume ground beef that has been cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F. The only way to kill this pathogen is by cooking to a high enough temperature and measuring that temperature with a food thermometer.

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