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. This expanded recall brings the grand total of beef products recalled since November 2009 (just 3 and a half months) to 5,672,000 pounds.
The expansion of the Huntington Meat recall is remarkable for both its size and the fact that it occurred based on evidence gathered during an ongoing criminal investigation being conducted by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) with assistance from FSIS. This evidence shows that the products subject to this recall expansion were produced in a manner that did not follow the establishment’s Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) plan. A HACCP plan describes the process controls an establishment must take to prevent food safety hazards and create a safe and wholesome product. The investigation has uncovered evidence to show that the food safety records of the establishment cannot be relied upon to document compliance with the requirements.
This recall expansion continues the disturbing trend of major meat recalls over the last several months. 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 Christmas Eve 2009, National Steak and Poultry recalled at least 124 tons of mechanically tenderized beef products. The National Steak and Poultry outbreak caused at least 21 E. coli O157:H7 illness in 16 states, including nine hospitalizations and one case of HUS.
And in November 2009, ground beef from a New York ground beef company called Fairbank Farms was recalled due to E. coli O157:H7 contamination. That outbreak caused resulted in 26 E. coli O157:H7 illnesses, nineteen hospitalizations, and five who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).