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E. Coli and Foreign Object Contamination Lead to Ground Beef Recalls

Two new ground beef recalls were issued over the past week for nearly 300,000 pounds of beef distributed across the country. One batch is suspected of being contaminated with E. coli, which could potentially cause food poisoning, while the other recall was issued because metal clips were found in the ground beef.

On May 29, Holten Meat Inc., of Sauget, Illinois announced a recall of 241,000 pounds of ground beef after it was discovered that metal clips used in the packaging process were found in 20 lbs. cases shipped to various food service institutions.

On Monday, SP Provisions of Portland, Oregon recalled another 39,983 pounds of ground beef from their Cascade Natural Beef and SB Provisions brands after the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the USDA discovered E. coli contamination during testing.

There have been no reported illnesses or injuries related to either of the two ground beef recalls, according to USDA reports.

The two recalls are the latest in a string problems with ground beef over the past year, which includes a massive ground beef recall last summer for 5.3 million pounds of contaminated meat from Nebraska Beef. At least 50 people were sickened by E. coli food poisoning linked to that recall, including one Minnesota woman who died.

The Holten Meat ground beef recall is limited to 20 lbs. cases marked “100% PURE GROUND BEEF BULK”, with package code 12000 and label code 1007982112000. The packages also contain markings that read, “PACKED FOR INSTITUTIONAL USE ONLY” and “NOT FOR RESALE.”

The company issued the recall after receiving complaints that customers were finding metal clips in the ground beef, which was produced between January and May 2009. The meat was distributed to institutions in Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, New Mexico, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. The USDA mark of inspection has the establishment number EST-02591.

The SP Provisions recall affects Cascade Natural Beef Brand’s 5 lbs. and 10 lbs. bags of ground beef, labeled with case code 13-016G; 5 lbs. and 10 lbs. bags of chili grind, labeled with case code 13-016C; and 15 lbs. boxes of ground beef patties marked 13-016GP. It also includes SP Provisions brand 5 lbs. and 10 lbs. bags of ground beef, labeled 01-136; 5 lbs. and 10 lbs. bags of chili grind, labeled 01-136C; and 15 lbs. boxes of ground beef patties with case code 01-136P. The meat was produced between April 8 and May 28 of this year, and was distributed to retail stores, hotels, restaurants and institutions in Oregon and Washington.

The SP Provisions beef was found to be contaminated with E. coli 0157:H7 during microbial testing, which is a strain of bacteria that can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration and in the most severe cases kidney failure known as Hemolytic-Urenia Syndrome or HUS. While most healthy adults are able to recovery fully from ecoli poisoning within a few weeks, the elderly, young children and those with a weak immune system could be susceptible to more severe illness that may result in dehydration or death.

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