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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

FSIS now considers E. coli O26 an adulterant in raw beef products

Screen shot 2010-11-30 at 11.27.56 AM.pngFor those that recall back to August 2010, Cargill Meat Solutions Corp., recalled approximately 8,500 pounds of ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O26. The product subject to recall included: 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.”  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.

Now, FSIS has issued Notice 70-10 today. Is says in pertinent part:

In the event of a sample positive for either E. coli O157:H7 or E. coli O26, FSIS would request a recall for product that entered commerce.

As those who follow my blog (and can stand the too frequent updates) know, the CDC estimates that “non-O157 STECs (like O26, O45, 0103, O111, O121, and O145) cause 36,700 illnesses, 1,100 hospitalizations and 30 deaths in America each year.”

We have Petitioned FSIS to list the above six STECs as adulterants, it is good to see that FSIS has moved forward on one – five to go.  I also sent a letter to FSIS today:

In light of FSIS Notice 70-10 issued on today’s date, I respectfully request that FSIS issue an interpretive ruling declaring enterohemorrhagic Shiga Toxin-producing Serotypes Escherichia coli O45, O103, O111, O121, and O145 (in addition to O26), to be Adulterants within the meaning of 21 U.S.C. § 601(m)(1).

 

  • L. E. Peterson

    I’m waiting further instructions from the frontline supervisor here–I suspect we’re going to have to meet with the establishments and go over adding E. coli 026 to the hazard analysis at grinding plants now. Let the screaming and kicking begin!