Five E coli cases linked with recalled Nebraska beef

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Aug 5, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – Five cases of Escherichia coli 0157:H7 infection in Minnesota and Wisconsin have been linked with beef that was recalled by a Nebraska packing plant this week, according to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).

Four people in Minnesota and one in Wisconsin got sick after eating ground sirloin patties that were produced by Carneco Foods of Columbus, Neb., and sold at Sam's Club stores, the MDH announced Aug 3. All the cases involved E coli with the same genetic fingerprint, the department said.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced Aug 3 that Carneco was recalling 497,000 pounds of frozen ground beef and beef patties that could be contaminated with E coli O157:H7. The recall was prompted by evidence that some people became ill after eating meat that was produced by the company Jun 21, the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) said.

Minnesota officials said consumers should not eat frozen sirloin patties sold under the label "Northern Plains" with the lot number 17304-CAR2 and with a "best used by" date of 12/18/04. Officials said the meat was being pulled from all Sam's Club stores. The FSIS listed additional details about the products subject to recall (see link below).

Minnesota State Epidemiologist Harry Hull, MD, told CIDRAP News today that no more illness cases have been linked with the recalled products since the outbreak was announced 2 days ago, but that the outbreak is still under investigation. Earlier, Hull had told the Star Tribune in Minneapolis that the outbreak could turn out to be much larger than the five cases.

The four Minnesotans who became ill had bought sirloin patties at Sam's Club stores in White Bear Lake and Eagan, Minn., the MDH said. The Wisconsin patient had bought sirloin patties at a Sam's Club in Waukesha, Wis.

The Minnesota patients—three adults and one child—all fell ill between Jul 10 and 24. One of the adults was hospitalized, but all four patients have recovered, the MDH said.

Carneco officials said the company sold up to 500,000 pounds of ground beef to the Sam's Club chain in late June, according to an Aug 4 Star Tribune report. Hull said today he had no information on the source of the contamination.

See also:

Aug 3 FSIS news release on recall
http://www.fsis.usda.gov/News_&_Events/Recall_030_2004_Release/index.asp

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