Here's Why 28,000 Pounds Of Ground Beef Were Just Recalled

The USDA recently announced a major recall of 28,000 pounds of ground beef that may be contaminated by E. coli. Interstate Meat Dist. Inc. produced the raw ground beef on December 20, 2021, and distributed it across seven states, including Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

According to Food & Wine, one- and three-pound chubs of ground beef sold at Albertsons, Kroger, Wal-Mart, and WinCo could all be part of the recall. The meat in question will have an establishment number of "EST. 965" located either beside the use/freeze by date or inside the USDA mark of inspection. The recalled beef has a use/freeze by date of January 11, 2022. The USDA is suggesting anyone who has purchased the affected products not to consume them, but rather throw them out or return them to the retailer where they were originally purchased. The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has also provided a PDF of ground beef labels to help consumers identify the recalled products.

The possible contamination was discovered when the ground beef was "purchased and submitted to a third-party laboratory for microbiological analysis" and tested positive for E. coli O157:H7. At that point, the USDA assessed how the third party lab obtained the results, deemed them accurate, and issued the recall.

Thousands of pounds of beef may have been contaminated with E. coli

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, E. coli is a type of bacteria found in the intestinal tract and excrement of animals and humans. There are many different strains of the bacteria, and the particular strain that was detected in the recalled beef, O157:H7, is known to cause severe infection in humans. The possible presence of this strain is what prompted the USDA to issue a high (or Class I) product contamination alert and recall 28,356 pounds of ground beef.

This particular strain of E. coli affects the intestinal tract causing moderate to severe illness anywhere from two to eight days after consuming contaminated products. Symptoms may include bloody diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, and possible kidney failure in severe cases. Anyone experiencing symptoms should seek immediate medical assistance.

While reminding consumers not to consume recalled products, the FSIS reminds consumers to always "safely prepare their raw meat." The USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline (1-888-674-6854) can also provide information on food safety and current recalls. Consumers are encouraged to contact their healthcare provider with any questions regarding specific symptoms, and to double-check their fridge and freezer for any recalled ground beef products.