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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Cargill Meat Solutions Sickens Three in Maine and New York with E. coli O26 Tainted Burger

Screen shot 2010-08-27 at 10.49.24 PM.pngIn another late Friday night press release, FSIS announced that Cargill Meat Solutions Corp., a Wyalusing, Pa. establishment, is recalling approximately 8,500 pounds of ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O26.

FSIS became aware of the problem on August 5, 2010 when the agency was notified by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources of an E. coli O26 cluster of illnesses. In conjunction with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Maine Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources, the New York State Department of Health, and New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets, two (2) case-patients have been identified in Maine, as well as one (1) case-patient in New York with a rare, indistinguishable PFGE pattern as determined by PFGE subtyping in PulseNet. PulseNet is a national network of public health and food regulatory agency laboratories coordinated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Illness onset dates range from June 24, 2010, through July 16, 2010.

* 42-pound cases of “GROUND BEEF FINE 90/10,” containing three (3) – approximately 14 pound chubs each. These products have a “use/freeze by” date of “07/01/10,” and an identifying product code of “W69032.”

The products subject to recall bears the establishment number “EST. 9400” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These products were produced on June 11, 2010, and were shipped to distribution centers in Connecticut and Maryland for further distribution. It is important to note that the above listed products were repackaged into consumer-size packages and sold under different retail brand names.

According to the CDC – non-O157 E. coli STECs (like O26, O45, 0103, O111, O121, and O145) cause 36,700 illnesses, 1,100 hospitalizations and 30 deaths in America each year.  And, tell me why our government has not agreed to adopt my “Petition for an Interpretive Rule Declaring all enterohemorrhagic Shiga Toxin-producing Serotypes of Escherichia coli (E. coli), Including Non-O157 Serotypes, to be Adulterants Within the Meaning of 21 U.S.C. sec. 601(m)(1)?”

For those interested in a bit more background, look at these links:

Marler’s Response to the American Meat Institute Statement on New Bill to Declare Additional Strains of E. coli as Adulterants

Supplemental Reasons Why Non-O157’s – like O145 – Should be Adulterants

It is Time (past time) for the FSIS to deem both Shiga-Toxin E. coli and Antibiotic Resistant Salmonella Adulterants

Also, I put my money were my mouth was and funded a $500,000 testing project to both test for non-O157 prevalence and to see if testing was practical.

  • First eggs, then deli meat, now beef. Another great reason to go local, small production, and grassfed. Thanks for the info!

  • John Munsell

    As is almost always the case, USDA/FSIS announces these recalls only AFTER state health and CDC officials have already done the intensive investigations which provide a link to a meat plant. In the event of a lab analysis of meat which tests positive and there is no outbreak of sicknesses, FSIS does NOT conduct a traceback to the origin. The agency’s job is much simpler if it merely places all accountability against the downstream further processing plant which unwittingly purchased meat which had already been contaminated at its source slaughter provider plant. FSIS continuously adroitly avoids tracebacks to the SOURCE, but addresses 100% of its scrutiny against the hapless downstream DESTINATION facility. Why? Because tracebacks to the source would almost always end up at the doorsteps of one of the Big 4 packers, who kill 88% of our feedlot cattle. The Big 4 also constitute a formidable legal adversary, if the agency were audacious (& stupid) enough to attempt enforcement actions against the Big 4, who enjoy tremendous political clout & deep pockets.
    Don’t hold your breath for Traceback policy changes at the agency, which is paralyzed with fear of litigation from the Big 4 packers. Naw, the agency will drag its feet until we have a nationwide outbreak, hospitalizing thousands and killing dozens. Only then, will FSIS timidly confront this obvious issue; not because they want to, but will be forced to.
    John Munsell

  • doc raymond

    And the consumers have not been given the names of the retail stores where the product was sold, so how do they know if it is in their homes?