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Cargill Meat Solutions Recalls E. coli O26 Tainted Ground Beef

Cargill Meat Solutions Corp., a Wyalusing, Pa. establishment, is recalling approximately 8,500 pounds of ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O26, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

* 42-pound cases of "GROUND BEEF FINE 90/10," containing three (3) – approximately 14 pound chubs each. These products have a "use/freeze by" date of "07/01/10," and an identifying product code of "W69032."

The products subject to recall bears the establishment number "EST. 9400" inside the USDA mark of inspection. These products were produced on June 11, 2010, and were shipped to distribution centers in Connecticut and Maryland for further distribution. It is important to note that the above listed products were repackaged into consumer-size packages and sold under different retail brand names. 

FSIS and the establishment are concerned that consumers may also freeze the product before use and that some product may still be in consumers’ freezers. FSIS strongly encourages consumers to check their freezers and immediately discard any product subject to this recall.

FSIS became aware of the problem on August 5, 2010 when the agency was notified by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources of an E. coli O26 cluster of illnesses. In conjunction with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Maine Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources, the New York State Department of Health, and New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets, two (2) case-patients have been identified in Maine, as well as one (1) case-patient in New York with a rare, indistinguishable PFGE pattern as determined by PFGE subtyping in PulseNet. PulseNet is a national network of public health and food regulatory agency laboratories coordinated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Illness onset dates range from June 24, 2010, through July 16, 2010.

FSIS determined that there is an association between the ground beef products subject to recall and the cluster of illnesses in the states of Maine and New York. FSIS regulations and statute allow the agency to take action on a product under its jurisdiction in cases where the product is convincingly associated to illness by evidence collected though an epidemiological, traceback investigation, and/or laboratory analysis. FSIS is continuing to work with affected state public health partners and the company on the investigation.

E. coli O26 is a bacterium that can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration, and in the most severe cases, kidney failure. The very young, seniors and persons with weak immune systems are the most susceptible to foodborne illness. Individuals concerned about an illness should contact a health care provider.