Thankfully Kim Archer of the Tulsa World Herald is adding to the slow roll of information on this outbreak and recall – “Owasso beef linked to E. coli.” Here is some clarified and newer information:

Nineteen sickened, so says the CDC:

The E. coli outbreak — considered a Class 1 recall because the health risk is high — has sickened at least 19 people, said Arleen Porcell-Pharr, a spokeswoman for the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. She could not provide further information about the severity of the illnesses.  Hmm, yesterday I had confirmation from state health departments of 1 illness each in Iowa, Kansas and Colorado and 2 in South Dakota. The 1 ill in Washington ate in Nebraska. Michigan now has responded and they confirm only 1.  So, where does the CDC get 19?

Only three restaurant chains received the steak:

The recall did not include products shipped to retailers but is limited to products sold to Moe’s, Carino’s Italian Grill and KRM restaurants in Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, South Dakota and Washington State (not sure that is accurate given sick person from Washington ate in Nebraska), National Steak and Poultry said. KRM Restaurant Group is the parent company of 54th Street Grill & Bar, which operates 15 locations in Missouri, Kansas and Illinois.

National Steak and Poultry product tested positive for E. coli O157:H7, so says FSIS:

The USDA verified those dates, adding that source material for the company’s chopped steak product produced Oct. 12 that had tested positive for E. coli O157:H7 had mingled with products produced on the other dates.  Hmm, when was that test done?  Who had the information?  Was the product shipped before test results came back?

Federal officials began investigation December 11:

Federal officials began investigating the E. coli outbreak Dec. 11, according to the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. The Owasso plant’s beef recall was issued Christmas Eve.  What prompted investigation by Federal officials (USDA, FSIS, CDC)?  When did state Department’s of Health become involved?

As I said yesterday:

Bill Marler, a Seattle-based food safety advocate and attorney, said that "when it involves E. coli O157:H7, just issuing a recall isn’t remotely enough action to protect consumers." "The recall was issued on a holiday, with illnesses across the country and only a vague reference to meat being shipped to restaurants nationwide," he said. Federal agencies and the company "must know which restaurants it went to, and the public deserves to know, too."  Kim’s story is helpful, but still more questions than answers.