Wolverine Packing Company is recalling 1.8 million pounds of ground beef products potentially contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, according to the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS).
11 people have been infected with the outbreak strains of Shiga toxin-producing E.coli O157:H7 (STEC O157:H7) from four states, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
FSIS was notified of E. coli O157:H7 illnesses on May 12 and working with the CDC, it determined a link between the ground beef products from Wolverine Packing Company and the illness cluster.
FSIS advises all consumers to safely prepare their raw meat products and only consume ground beef that has been cooked to a temperature of 160° F.
“While none of the Wolverine Packing product has tested positive for the pathogen implicated in this outbreak, the company felt it was prudent to take this voluntary recall action in response to the illnesses and initial outbreak investigation findings,” said Chuck Sanger, spokesman for Wolverine Packing.
The firm said the fresh ground beef was produced at one of its Michigan plants on March 31, April 3, 7, 8, 10, 11, 14, 15, and 18, meaning the 24-day shelf life of the most recent product expired one week ago.
The number of ill people is Massachusetts (1), Michigan (5), Missouri (1), and Ohio (4), said the CDC.
60% of ill persons have been hospitalized and none have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) or died.
“Among persons for whom information is available, illness onset dates range from April 22, 2014 to May 2, 2014. Ill persons range in age from 19 years to 46 years, with a median age of 26 years. Fifty-four percent of ill persons are male,” said the agency.
The illnesses involved consumers who ate undercooked hamburgers at restaurants in the four states, said Wolverine Packing.
All of the ground beef involved was fresh, and was not labeled for retail sale and was shipped to Wolverine’s distributors in the four states for use in restaurants.
However, an FSIS statement said it believes the product was sent to distribution centers nationwide.
Jay Bonahoom, vice president of Wolverine Packing, said: “We are taking immediate measures to redouble efforts to assure that our safety standards exceed our customers’ expectations.”
The products subject to the recall bear the establishment number “EST. 2574B” and have a production date code in the format “Packing Nos: MM DD 14” between “03 31 14” and “04 18 14.”
They were shipped to distributors for restaurant and retail use nationwide, said USDA-FSIS.
For a full list of recalled products please click here .