According to the CDC (well, actually the Washington Post last week), we know that 21 persons were infected with E. coli O157:H7 in 16 states caused by National Steak and Poultry "mechanically tenderized" steaks.

Also, according to the CDC (well, actually efoodalert), the ill persons reside in California (1), Colorado (1), Florida (1), Hawaii (1), Iowa (1), Indiana (1), Kansas (1), Michigan (1), Minnesota (3), Nevada (1), Ohio (2), Oklahoma (1), South Dakota (2), Tennessee (1), Utah (2), and Washington (1).

Also, according to the CDC, (well, actually efoodalert, again), known illness onset dates ranged from October 3, 2009 through December 14, 2009, and most patients became ill between mid-October and late November. Nine were hospitalized and one developed Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS).

What this means is that on Christmas Eve when the FSIS announced that National Steak and Poultry was recalling approximately 248,000 pounds of beef products that "MAY" be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the outbreak had been ongoing for nearly three months, and had been likely over for at least two weeks.

By the way, thank you Lyndsey Layton from the Washington Post and Phyllis Entis from efoodalert for doing the CDC’s job of informing the public of a nation-wide E. coli outbreak. As of a few moments ago, the CDC still has not updated its website.

We now know which states the ill people reside (BTW, thanks to Food Safety News for reporting that the Washington resident actually ate the steak and became ill in Nebraska), however, we still do not know where the people who became ill consumed the "mechanically tenderized" steaks.

Here is perhaps a very large clue – According to the FSIS (well actually Nation’s Restaurant News and the Tulsa World Herald), when the FSIS and National Steak and Poultry recalled over 25 different products, the products were apparantly sent to Olive Garden, Applebees, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Carino’s Italian and 54th Street Grill & Bar. However, were there others? Thus far the FSIS and National Steak an Poultry websites remain silent.

By the way, thank you Alan Liddle of Nation’s Restaurant News and Kim Archer of the Tulsa World Herald for doing the FSIS’s job of informing the public of where some, most or all (you pick) of the meat products went.

It is wonderful to see the private sector picking up the work over the holidays of both the CDC and FSIS in alerting the public to a Class I Recall.