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E. Coli Contamination Fears Lead to California Ground Beef Recall

About 35,000 pounds of ground beef shipped out by a southern California meat distributor has been recalled due to concerns that it has E. coli contamination

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced the ground beef recall for South Gate Meat Co. products on June 22, indicating that the beef may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7.

The meat was distributed to restaurants in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas in California. There are no reported cases of E. coli food poisoning connected with the possible contamination. FSIS inspectors discovered the E. coli ground beef contamination through microbiological sampling.

The recall includes 20, 30 and 40-pound bulk packages of “SOUTH GATE MEAT CO. GROUND BEEF;” 30, 40 and 50-pound bulk packages of “SOUTH GATE MEAT CO. COARSE GROUND BEEF;” and 10 and 20 pound packages of “SOUTH GATE MEAT CO. GROUND BEEF PATTIES.” All of the packages have an establishment number of “EST. 6217” inside the USDA mark of inspection. They were produced between June 7 and June 10, 2010.

E. coli O157:H7 is one of the more common causes of food poisoning in the United States. When left untreated, it can lead to dehydration and potentially life-threatening illness. While most healthy adults recover from food poisoning caused by E. coli within a few weeks, young children and the elderly could be at risk for more severe illness. If the toxin enters the blood stream, E. coli could also lead to kidney failure known as Hemolytic-Urenia Syndrome (HUS).

The CDC reports that there are about 76 million cases of food-related illnesses reported every year, with more than 300,000 people hospitalized and 5,000 deaths. There were at least nine major recalls of beef products in 2009.

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