Nebraska firm's beef linked to E coli outbreak

Jul 1, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced yesterday that a Nebraska company has recalled about 530,000 pounds of beef after the company's products were implicated in an Escherichia coli O157:H7 outbreak that has sickened 35 people in Michigan and Ohio.

Nebraska Beef, Ltd., located in Omaha, was identified as a supplier of beef to certain Kroger grocery stores in Michigan and Ohio, according to a press release from the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). On Jun 25, Kroger recalled an undetermined amount of its ground beef from stores in Michigan and central and northwestern Ohio with sell-by dates ranging from May 21 to Jun 8.

The trace-back investigation has revealed that ground beef samples from two federally-inspected establishments supplied by Nebraska Beef and multiple samples of Kroger ground beef from patients' homes were contaminated with E coli matching the outbreak strain, the FSIS reported.

Though the recalled products originally bore the establishment number "EST. 19336," retail products subject to the recall will not carry that mark because they were further processed at other establishments, the agency said. The recalled products, totaling 531,707 pounds, consist of trim, chuck, and other components typically processed into ground beef.

Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said yesterday that as of Jun 27, 35 cases had been linked to the outbreak though epidemiological studies and genetic fingerprinting, including 17 in Michigan and 18 in Ohio.

Illness onset dates range from May 30 to Jun 14, the CDC reported. Nineteen patients have been hospitalized, and one developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a sometimes-fatal kidney condition. No deaths have been reported.

See also:

Jun 30 FSIS press release
http://www.fsis.usda.gov/News_&_Events/Recall_022_2008_Release/index.asp

Jun 25 FSIS release about Kroger ground beef recall
http://www.fsis.usda.gov/News_&_Events/R01-2008_Release/index.asp

Jun 30 CDC press release
http://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/june2008outbreak/index.html

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