An additional 18 entries have been added to the ongoing beef recall due to widespread concerns about E. coli contamination. The list of beef and veal products in the recall now tops more than 860. For consumers who eat beef products, the growing list of recalls may certainly cause alarm about food safety. Read on to learn more about the status of the beef recalls.
Canadian Officials Add More Products to Beef Recall
The United States and Canada both are in the midst of the ongoing beef recall. The latest entry to the recall is from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). The CFIA is investigating various beef and veal products sold by Ryding-Regency Meat Packers Ltd. and St. Ann’s Foods Inc. According to the CFIA, the recall relates to E. coli O157:H7, a dangerous strain of the bacteria. The investigation into the source of the contamination is ongoing.
The latest recalls do not specify how many pounds of beef and veal are being recalled, or what led to the recall. All that is reported is that inspection activities are what triggered the recall. Ryding-Regency reportedly began recalling products on October 3, 2019. Since then, several entities in the meat packing industry have issued recalls.
Canadian health officials are urging consumers and foodservice operators to be careful and avoid using beef products in the recall. The warning also goes to restaurants, schools, hospitals, nursing homes, hotels and other institutions.
United States Involvement in Beef Recall
Here in the U.S., the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has issued a public health alert for certain raw non-intact beef products. U.S. officials are warning consumers about beef products imported from Canada. Of course, there are still several beef recalls ongoing in the U.S. as well.
In June 2019, the USDA and FSIS issued a recall for more than 62,000 pounds of beef packaged by Aurora Packing Company, Inc. This beef recall was issued after random sample tests came back positive for E. coli. The strain of E. coli found was O157:H7, which is one of the most dangerous types of E. coli bacteria.
In May 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced a continuing investigation into a multi-state outbreak of E. coli linked to ground beef products. That particular beef recall was linked to strain O103, which led to almost 200 people becoming ill. A lawsuit was filed in relation to this recall after a woman suffered kidney failure.
So far, several states have reported E. coli contamination in beef products, and there are numerous ongoing recalls and safety alerts. Health officials have not said whether the outbreaks and recalls are connected.
Beef Recall Information for Consumers
If you regularly purchase raw beef products in the U.S. or Canada, you may be interested in reading the full text of the FSIS and CFIA warnings. The FSIS Public Health Alert offers warnings and information to U.S. consumers. The CFIA Food Safety Investigation report also offers a full list of the products included in the beef recall.
Of course, you can always count on Bad Food Recall to update you about this beef recall and any other potential food safety concerns.
What Consumers Should Know about E. coli
Escherichia coli (E. coli) is a type of bacteria that is naturally occurring in the environment, in certain foods and even in animals and people.
There are several strains of the bacteria, many of which are harmless. However, there are also several strains that can make people sick.
There are six types of E. coli that make people sick. These are known as Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC), and may be classified as:
- Enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC)
- Enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC)
- Enteroaggregative E. coli (EAEC)
- Enteroinvasive E. coli (EIEC)
- Diffusely adherent E. coli (DAEC)
The two strains that are most common, and are linked the most of the above-mentioned outbreaks are O157:H7 and O104:H4. However, in recent years, E. coli outbreaks have been caused by several strains. The outbreaks largely vary based on the product.
People who are sick with one of these strains of E. coli may experience symptoms including:
- Severe stomach cramps
- Diarrhea (possibly bloody)
According to the CDC, around 5-10 percent of people who develop STEC infection also develop hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). HUS is a serious complication that can even be life-threatening. Symptoms of HUS include:
- Decreased urination
- Loss of color
- Kidney problems
Most often, people who become sick due to E. coli heal with little or no complication. Of course, everyone is different and depending on your overall health, you should contact your doctor if you have symptoms of E. coli. You should tell your doctor if you have consumed products in the ongoing beef recall.
How to Prevent E. Coli Illness
E. coli is a type of food poisoning that is uncomfortable and potentially serious. It is important that everyone observe good food safety practices and healthy habits. However, for certain populations, preventing foodborne illness is extremely important. People who are most vulnerable to E. coli infection include:
- Pregnant women
- People with weakened immune systems
- People with chronic medical conditions
To help prevent E. coli bacteria from contaminating your home, consider the following preventative strategies:
- Handwashing – Make sure that you and your family wash your hands:
- Before and after handling any food product
- After using the bathroom, changing a diaper or emptying a litter box
- After contact with animals
- Before and after prepping infant or toddler foods or formula
- Sanitize – Sanitize all surfaces before and after cooking. Sanitize bottles and infant or toddler toys regularly.
- Food Safety – Wash all fruits and vegetables under running water before preparing.
- Cook Thoroughly – Cook all meats to a proper internal temperature. For beef roasts or steaks, cook to at least 145 degrees. For smaller beef and pork products, cook to a temperature of at least 160 degrees.
- Avoid Cross-Contamination – Never use the same cutting or cooking surface for raw meat and vegetables.
Good food safety and hygiene practices can help prevent E. coli infection. Unfortunately, it is impossible to know what products may be contaminated at any given time. Food recalls are important to warn consumers about risks, but they often occur after consumers report illness.
Keep up-to-date about the ongoing beef recall and E. coli outbreaks by following Bad Food Recall online. If you have questions about a recall, outbreak or other foodborne illness, you can certainly contact us to learn more.