Multistate Outbreak of E. coli O157 Infections Linked to Topp’s Brand Ground Beef Patties (FINAL UPDATE)
NOTICE: This outbreak is over. The information on this page has been archived for historical purposes only and will not be updated.
Posted October 26, 2007
Several state health departments, CDC, and the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) are investigating a multi-state outbreak of Escherichia coli O157 infections. On September 29, USDA issued a notice about a recall of 21.7 million pounds of frozen ground beef patties.
Health officials in several states who were investigating reports of E. coli O157 illnesses found that many ill persons had consumed the same brand of frozen ground beef patties. Ground beef patties recovered from patients’ homes were tested by state public health department and federal laboratories. Tests conducted by the New York State Wadsworth Center Laboratory and by a USDA-FSIS laboratory on opened and unopened packages of Topp’s brand frozen ground beef patties yielded E. coli O157 isolates with several different “DNA fingerprint” patterns.
Investigators compared the “DNA fingerprints” patterns of E. coli O157 strains found in ground beef with “DNA fingerprints” patterns of E. coli O157 strains isolated from ill persons. As of 12 PM (ET) October 26, 2007, 40 cases of E. coli O157 infection have been identified with PFGE patterns that match at least one of the patterns of E. coli strains found in Topp’s brand frozen ground beef patties. Ill persons reside in 8 states: Connecticut (2), Florida (1), Indiana (1), Maine (1), New Jersey (9), New York (13), Ohio (1), and Pennsylvania (12). Thirty-three (89%) of 37 patients with a detailed food history consumed ground beef. Seven illnesses have confirmed associations with recalled products because the strain isolated from the person was also isolated from the meat in their home. The first reported illness began on July 5, 2007, and the last began on September 24, 2007. Among thirty-three ill persons for whom hospitalization status is known, twenty-one (64%) were hospitalized. Two patients developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS). No deaths have been reported. Eighteen (45%) patients are female. The ages of patients range from 1 to 77 years; 50% are between 15 and 24 years old (only 14% of the US population is in this age group).
Consumers who have frozen ground beef patties should determine whether they have one of the recalled products and discard it or return it to the place of purchase. Most of the recalled packages bear the establishment number “Est. 9748” inside the USDA mark of inspection and have a sell-by date between “SEP 25 07” and “SEP 25 08.” Some of the recalled products bear the establishment number “Est. 5712” inside the USDA mark of inspection and “9748” on a sticker or inkjet printing on the back panel of the package; those packages also have sell-by dates between “SEP 25 07” and “SEP 25 08.”
Consumers who have questions about the recalled products can contact USDA-FSIS at “Ask Karen’” online at www.AskKaren.govExternal or call the Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (674-6854). Because any raw ground beef can contain disease-causing germs, CDC and USDA-FSIS encourage consumers to use good food safety practices and to heed the following advice:
- Using a food thermometer is the only sure way of knowing if your food has reached a high enough temperature to destroy bacteria.
- Ground beef products should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Color is not a reliable indicator that ground beef patties have been cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria such as E. coli O157:H7. For more information go to IsItDoneYet.govExternal.
- To keep your food safe, remember to Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill. For more food safety information visit www.BeFoodSafe.govExternal and direct questions to AskKaren.gov and Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (674-6854).
Final Case Count Map
Persons infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157, by state of residence, as of October 26, 2007 (n=40)
As of 12 PM (ET) October 26, 2007, 40 cases of E. coli O157 infection have been identified with PFGE patterns that match at least one of the patterns of E. coli strains found in Topp’s brand frozen ground beef patties. Ill persons reside in 8 states: Connecticut (2), Florida (1), Indiana (1), Maine (1), New Jersey (9), New York (13), Ohio (1), and Pennsylvania (12).