November 26, 2022

New Ground Beef E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak on USDA Investigation Table

A new ground beef E. coli O157:H7 outbreak on the USDA Investigation Table has been posted. Ground beef is suspected as being the source of the pathogen. The USDA Outbreak Investigation Table has even less information that the FDA’s Table. There is no case count, and no information about whether or not traceback, sample collection, facility investigation, or lab analysis has been conducted.

New Ground Beef E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak on USDA Investigation Table

In the past, E. coli outbreaks linked to ground beef have been numerous. This product can be contaminated because cows, which are ruminant animals, can carry the pathogen in their guts. The bacteria is excreted in feces, which can contaminate the animals’ hides. When the cow is processed, that bacteria can contaminate cuts of meat.

And when ground beef is produced from those whole cuts, the bacteria are mixed all throughout the product. Then, when the ground beef is not thoroughly cooked to 160°F, as in rare hamburgers, for instance, the bacteria can survive and can make people sick.

In 2019, an E. coli 103 outbreak linked to ground beef sickened at least 209 people in 10 states. Twenty-nine people were hospitalized. While no single supplier, distributors, or brand of ground beef accounted for all of the illnesses, several recalls were issued, including the brands North Star Imports and Colorado Premium Foods.

In 2018, a deadly E. coli 026 outbreak sickened at least 18 people in four states. Six people were hospitalized because they were so ill and one person died. The outbreak was linked to ground beef from Cargill Meat solutions. The beef was recalled.

In 2016, an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to beef products, including ground beef, produced by Adams Farm, sickened at least 11 people in five states. All of the seven people interviewed in this outbreak said they ate ground beef before they got sick; 86% of those people ate ground beef produced by Adams Farm Slaughterhouse. The outbreak strain was found in leftover Adams Farm ground beef taken from an ill person’s home in Connecticut.

And in 2014, an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to ground beef sickened at least 12 people in four states. That outbreak was liked to ground beef produced by Wolverine Packing Company. About 1.8 million pounds of ground beef products were recalled.

Ground beef should always be handled with care because it can be contaminated with pathogens, including E. coli and Salmonella. Cook the beef to a final internal temperature of 160°F every time, and measure that temperature every time with a reliable meat thermometer. Avoid cross-contamination between the raw beef and other foods and kitchen surfaces. And wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling raw ground beef.

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If you or a loved one have been sickened with an E. coli infection, please contact our experienced attorneys for help at 1-888-377-8900 or 612-338-0202.

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