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Multistate Outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157:H7 Infections Linked to Ground Beef (Final Update)

This outbreak appears to be over. However, E. coli is still an important cause of human illness in the United States. More information about E. coli, and steps people can take to reduce their risk of infection, can be found on the CDC E. coli Web Page.

Recall

On May 19, 2014, Wolverine Packing Company, a Detroit, Michigan firm, voluntarily recalled approximately 1.8 million pounds of ground beef that may be contaminated with STEC O157:H7. The ground beef was shipped to distributors for retail and restaurant use nationwide. There was no distribution of the products to the Department of Defense, the National School Lunch Program, or catalog/internet sales. The recalled ground beef was distributed to a limited number of retail establishments for consumer purchase.

Products are regulated by USDA-FSIS and bear the establishment number “2574B” inside the USDA mark of inspection and have a production date code in the format “Packing Nos: MM DD 14” between “03 31 14” and “04 18 14.” A full list of recalled ground beef products is available from the USDA-FSIS website.

Advice to Consumers

More information about E. coli infection and ways to prevent it are available.

  • Most of the ill persons in this outbreak reported eating undercooked ground beef at restaurants.
    • Do not eat raw or undercooked ground beef.
    • Cook ground beef hamburgers and beef mixtures such as meat loaf to 160°F internal temperature using a food thermometer.
    • Ask that ground beef hamburgers and beef mixtures be cooked to 160°F internal temperature when ordering at a restaurant.
  • The recalled ground beef was distributed to a limited number of retail establishments for consumer purchase.
    • Check your freezer for recalled ground beef products:
      • Products have the establishment number “EST. 2574B” inside the USDA mark of inspection.
      • Products have a date code in the format “Packing Nos: MM DD 14” between “03 31 14” and “04 18 14.”
    • Do not attempt to cook the recalled ground beef and eat it.
    • Consumers should dispose of recalled products in a sealed container in the trash so that no children, pets, or other animals can get to them.
  • Contact your health care provider if you think you may have become ill from eating recalled ground beef products.
    • People usually get sick from STEC 2-8 days (average of 3-4 days) after swallowing the organism (germ).
    • Most people infected with STEC develop diarrhea (often bloody) and abdominal cramps.
    • Most people recover within 1 week.
    • People of any age can become infected. Very young children and the elderly are more likely to develop severe illness and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) than others, but even healthy older children and young adults can become seriously ill.
  • Always practice food safety for raw ground beef.
    • Do not eat raw or undercooked ground beef. Cook ground beef hamburgers and beef mixtures such as meat loaf to 160°F internal temperature using a food thermometer.
    • Wash hands, kitchen work surfaces, and utensils with soap and water immediately after they have been in contact with raw ground beef. Then, disinfect food contact surfaces. One way to disinfect is to use a freshly prepared solution of 1 tablespoon unscented liquid chlorine bleach to 1 gallon of water.
    • Avoid cross-contaminating other foods. Uncooked meat should be kept separate from produce, cooked foods, and ready-to-eat foods. Do not wash raw meat before cooking because splashing water can spread any pathogens present on raw meat surfaces to other kitchen surfaces.
    • Refrigerate raw and cooked meat within 2 hours after purchase (1 hour if temperatures exceed 90°F). Refrigerate cooked meat within 2 hours after cooking. Refrigerators should be set to maintain a temperature of 40°F or below.

Advice to Restaurants and Other Retailers

CDC recommends the following to restaurants and other retailers:

  • Do not serve or sell the recalled ground beef.
  • Do not attempt to cook the recalled ground beef and serve it.
  • People who have eaten the recalled ground beef should look for signs of STEC infection:
    • People usually get sick from STEC 2-8 days (average of 3-4 days) after swallowing the organism (germ).
    • Most people infected with STEC develop diarrhea (often bloody) and abdominal cramps.
    • Most people recover within a week.
  • Always practice food safety for raw ground beef according to local food safety guidelines and regulations.

« Read the full Outbreak Investigation

 
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