CDC Food Safety Alert: E. coli. Outbreak Linked to Ground Bison

Media Statement

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Contact: Media Relations
(404) 639-3286

A CDC announcement about a multistate outbreak of E. coli infections linked to ground bison produced by Northfork Bison Distributions, Inc., has been posted at https://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/2019/bison-07-19/index.html.

Key points:

  • CDC, several states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are investigating a multistate outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O103 and O121 infections linked to ground bison produced by Northfork Bison Distributions, Inc.
  • 21 people infected with the outbreak strains have been reported from 7 states (CT, FL, MI, MO, NJ, NY, PA)
  • Eight people have been hospitalized.
  • No cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure, have been reported.
  • No deaths have been reported.
  • Interviews with ill people and records collected from restaurants indicate that ground bison produced by Northfork Bison Distributions, Inc., is the likely source of this outbreak.
  • On July 16, 2019, Northfork Bison Distributions, Inc., in Saint-Leonard, Quebec, Canada, recalled ground bison produced between February 22, 2019, and April 30, 2019.
  • Recalled ground bison was sold to distributors as ground bison and bison patties, referred to as Bison Burgers and/or Buffalo Burgers. Recalled ground bison was also sold to retailers in 4-ounce burger patties.

Advice to consumers, retailers, and restaurants:

  • Consumers should not eat and restaurants and retailers should not sell or serve recalled ground bison products.
  • Consumers who have recalled ground bison burger patties in their home should not eat them. Throw them away or return them to the store for a refund. Even if some of the recalled patties have been eaten and no one got sick, do not eat them.
  • Restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell recalled ground bison and should check freezers and storage for recalled products.
  • Restaurants and retailers should check with their supplier to determine if their ground bison has been recalled.
  • In general, consumers and restaurants should always thoroughly cook ground bison and any food that contains ground bison to an internal temperature of 160°F to kill germs.
  • Talk to your doctor if you have symptoms of an E. coli infection.

About Shiga toxin-producing E. coli:

  • People get sick from Shiga toxin-producing E. coli an average of 3 to 4 days after swallowing the germ. Most people get diarrhea (often bloody), severe stomach cramps, and vomiting.
  • Most people recover within a week, but some illnesses can last longer and be more severe.
  • Antibiotics are not recommended for patients with suspected E. coli infections until diagnostic testing can be performed and E. coli infection is ruled out.
  • More information can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/ecoli-prevention.html.   

If you have questions about cases in a particular state, please call that state’s health department.

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Page last reviewed: July 17, 2019