Hygiene Food Safety
Newsletter May 2019

This month we take a look at an outbreak of E.coli from contamination in ground beef

Ground Beef Recalled on E.coli Fears

Over 45 Kg Tons (100 000 lbs) of ground beef transported to restaurants in the US have been recalled due to possible contamination with E. coli O103.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced this week. The beef is from the Georgia-based K2D Foods, also known as Colorado Premium Foods.

E. coli O103 outbreak, which has infected 156 people to date, according to the CDC. Those affected in the ongoing outbreak said that they ate ground beef both in restaurants and at home. This particular strain of E. coli is known as a Shiga toxin-producing E. coli(STEC) that not only causes typical food poisoning symptoms, such as stomach cramps, diarrhoea, and vomiting but also can lead to organ damage in a small percentage of those with low immune systems.

The contaminated beef was identified after it was discovered that multiple patients who tested positive for E. coli O103 in the ongoing outbreak had gone to the same restaurant in Tennessee.

Testing of the restaurant’s unopened packages of beef, which came from K2D Foods, was found to be contaminated with E. coli O103.

A package of ground beef often contains meat from many different cows. That means if the meat from one cow is contaminated, the bacteria can get mixed into a lot of batches of ground beef. And compared with steaks, where any bacteria present is only on the surface of the meat, any bacteria in ground beef is distributed throughout.

How To Manage The Risk

The name of the distributors that received the recalled ground beef from K2D has not been released, so it’s not clear which restaurants received the products involved in the recall.

If you suspect having received contaminated meats, the restaurants should throw away or return the products. Customers should be sure to only eat ground beef that has been cooked to an internal temperature of  75°C (160° F).

Check out our article on cooking temperatures.

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