60K lbs. of ground beef recalled nationwide, possible E. coli contamination

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

WASHINGTON – National Beef Packing Co. LLC of Dodge City, Kan. is recalling more than 60,000 pounds of ground beef products because of possible E. coli contamination.

The potentially tainted beef was distributed nationwide.

The recalled products include the following items.

Ground beef chubs produced on July 23, 2011 with a Freeze by Date of August 12, 2011:

  • Boxes containing six 10-pound chubs of “National Beef 80/20 Fine Ground Chuck.” These can be identified by the product code 483.
  • Boxes containing eight 5-pound chubs of “National Beef 80/20 Fine Ground Chuck.” These can be identified by the product code 684.
  • Boxes containing twelve 3-pound chubs of “National Beef 80/20 Fine Ground Chuck.” These can be identified by the product code 782 or 785.
  • Boxes containing six 10-pound chubs of “National Beef 80/20 Fine Ground Chuck.” These can be identified by the product code 787.

Ground beef chubs produced on July 25, 2011 with a Freeze by Date of August 14, 2011:

  • Boxes containing eight 10-pound chubs of “National Beef 81/19 Fine Ground Beef.” These can be identified by the product code 431.
  • Boxes containing eight 10-pound chubs of “National Beef 90/10 Fine Ground Beef.” These can be identified by the product code 471.
  • Boxes containing six 10-pound chubs of “National Beef 86/14 Fine Ground Round.” These can be identified by the product code 494.

According to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the affected boxes and chubs are marked with the establishment number "Est. 262" in the USDA mark of inspection.

Because the products were shipped to other distributors, it's possible that they might have been repackaged into consumer-size units and sold under different retail brand names. At this point, a retail distribution list is not available.

The possible E. coli contamination was discovered during routine microbial testing by the Ohio Department of Agriculture. The source was traced back to National Beef Packing Co.

E. coli is a potentially deadly bacteria. Symptoms of infection include diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, dehydration. In the most severe cases, E. coli can cause kidney failure.

The very young, the elderly and those with weak immune systems are most susceptible to food-borne illnesses like E. coli.

FSIS advises all consumers to cook ground beef, both fresh and froze, to an internal temperature of 160 degrees to kill any potentially harmful bacteria. FSIS says color is not a reliable indicator of doneness and suggests you use a food thermometer to check the temperature.

If you have questions about this recall, you can contact National Beef Packing Co.'s vice president of marketing, Keith Welty, at 816-713-8631.

The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from l0 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day.