Sunday, August 10, 2008

Suspected E. coli Causes Nationwide Recall of 1.2 Million Pounds of Ground Beef

For the second time in a month, beef from a large Nebraska meat processor has been recalled... this time, 1.2 million pounds.

According to the Washington Post, the fresh ground beef, believed to contain the dangerous E. coli bacterium, was recalled from the upscale Whole Foods stores nationwide Saturday. The beef had been processed at Nebraska Beef of Omaha, one of the nation's largest meatpackers, the newspaper reported.

Just last month, 5 million pounds of beef produced by Nebraska Beef had to be recalled after nearly 50 cases of E. coli had been confirmed. The meat processor was allowed to continue operations after making a number of operational changes, according to the Associated Press.

But 31 new cases have been reported since Aug. 1 in 12 states and Washington, D.C., the Post reports. Seven people who became ill from E. coli O157:H7 had bought their meat at Whole Foods, the newspaper reports. Whole Foods Market issued a statement saying that ground beef bought from from June 2 to Aug. 6 should be thrown out.

Meanwhile, Nebraska Beef continues to operate while being observed by inspectors from the U.S. department of Agriculture. "We will continue to investigate to see what is happening at the plant to see what they have to do to get a handle on their food-safety issues," USDA spokeswoman Laura Reiser told the Post.

E. coli O157:H7 can cause bloody diarrhea and dehydration, and in severe cases, kidney failure. Children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems are at greater risk of serious

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