E. coli O157:H7 illnesses, particularly those associated with ground beef products, typically peak in the summer months. In a January 2011 article, Food Safety News published an article, about a study, that asked why. The answer given, in a nutshell, was the increased shedding of bacteria in cow feces one, among possibly many, factors, during the summer months. Read Why Are There More E. coli Infections in Summer?
Whatever the case, the approach of summer undoubtedly has public health and industry on alert. What kind of summer will it be?
To date this year, only one company has recalled ground beef products due to E. coli O157:H7 contamination. That was a 3,170 pound ground beef product recall by American Food Services, from Pico Rivera, California. No illnesses were reported as a result of the contamination.
Last year’s tally of ground beef E. coli recalls and outbreaks, totalled over 5 million pounds:
- On February 12, 2010, Huntington Meat Packing, Inc., expanded its January 18, 2010 beef recall to include approximately 4.9 million pounds of beef and veal products that it produced in 2009 and the first few days of this year.
- On February 4, West MissourI Beef, LLC, a Rockville, Missouri beef company, recalled 14,000 pounds of boneless beef products due to potential E. coli O157:H7 contamination.
- On January 11, 2010, Adams Farm Slaughterhouse, LLC., an Athol, Mass., stablishment, recalled approximately 2,574 pounds of beef products due to potential E. coli O157:H7 contamination. The recall occurred in the wake of an epidemiological investigation into the E. coli illness of at least one Massachusetts resident.
- On March 2, 2010 Randolph Packing Co. Inc., an Asheboro, N.C. establishment, recalled approximately 96,000 pounds of beef products due to potential E. coli O157:H7 contamination
- In August, 2010, 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
- In September 2010, Hamilton Corner Meat Market Inc., located at 1 Hamilton Place, New York, New York 10031, recalled all packages of “ground beef” sold from bulk on September 7, 2010, due to the presence of Salmonella.
- In November 2010, Hamilton Corner again had a ground beef recall. In its 2nd recall of 2010, Hamilton Corner recalled all packages of in-store “ground beef” sold on November 15, 2010, due to the presence of E. coli O157:H7.
- And on December 30, First Class Foods issued a recall of 34,373 pounds of organic ground beef products potentially contaminated with E. coli O157:H7,