J. B. Meats, is recalling approximately 72,800 pounds of ground beef that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7.

The products subject to recall are 5 and 10 pound clear packages of ground beef and ground beef patties in various size packages that were processed on and can be identified by the dates August 18, 2010 through August 18, 2011. The product was sold to restaurants in the Cincinnati area. Each clear plastic bag and label bare the establishment number “EST. 1188” within the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s mark of inspection.

The company was notified on Aug. 12, 2011 of an investigation of two E. coli O157:H7 illnesses. The Cincinnati Health Department identified and reported there were two ill patients who experienced illness onset dates of July 20 and 21, 2011 that may have resulted from ground beef consumed on July 16 and 17, 2011.

As a result of the ensuing investigation, it was determined there is a possible link between the ground beef products produced by J.B. Meats on July 15 and the illnesses in Ohio. The recall is precautionary, as there has been no conclusive link between the illnesses and the ground beef produced at the facility. As an additional precaution, the company is recalling all ground beef production from the date of this announcement for the previous year.

E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly 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. All persons are reminded when consuming ground beef the meat should be cooked to 160 degrees as determined by a hand held thermometer.

Individuals who believe they are suffering from a food-related illness should contact a healthcare provider.