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Cargill Recalls nearly 1 million pounds of Ground Beef Products Due to E. coli O157:H7 Contamination – CLASS I RECALL – HEALTH RISK: HIGH

 CLASS I RECALL – HEALTH RISK: HIGH

Cargill Meat Solutions Corporation is voluntarily recalling approximately 845,000 pounds of frozen ground beef patties produced at its Butler, Wis., location because they may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced today.  We have been contacted by the families of two of the four ill children.  It is not our first dance with Cargill – See 1 and 2 and 3.  It is also not Cargills or one of its subsidiaries experience with RECALLS.  All this after Cargill reported in 1995 that “End To E. Coli Is Found”

The frozen ground beef patties were produced on various dates from Aug. 9 through Aug. 17, 2007, and were distributed to retail establishments, restaurants and institutions nationwide. Each label bears the establishment number “Est. 924A” inside the USDA mark of inspection.

* 6-pound boxes of “American Chef’s Selection Angus Beef Patties 18-1/3 Pound Patties.” Each package bears a case code of “7703100” and various package codes of Best If Used By dates of “02/05/08,” “02/06/08,” “02/12/08,” and “02/13/08.”

Products distributed to restaurants and institutions and subject to recall include:

* 20-pound boxes of “Grille Works Seasoned Sirloin Steak Beef Patties.” Each package bears a case code of “7700296” and a package code “packed/chilled by 08/15/07.”

* 20-pound boxes of “TNT Thick ‘n’ Tender Beef Patties with Seasoning.” Each package bears a case code of “7703003” and a package code “packed/chilled by 08/15/07.”

* 20-pound boxes of “TNT Thick ‘n’ Tender Beef Patties with Seasoning.” Each package bears a case code of “7703008” and a package code “packed/chilled by 08/15/07.”

* 10-pound boxes of “TNT Thick ‘n’ Tender Beef Patties with Seasoning.” Each package bears a case code of “7703092” and a package code “packed/chilled by 08/15/07.”

* 20-pound boxes of “TNT Thick ‘n’ Tender Black Angus Beef Patties with Seasoning.” Each package bears a case code of “7703132” and a package code “packed/chilled by 08/15/07.”

* 20-pound boxes of “TNT Thick ‘n’ Tender Black Angus Beef Patties with Seasoning.” Each package bears a case code of “7703133” and a package code “packed/chilled by 08/15/07.”

* 10-pound boxes of “TNT Thick ‘n’ Tender Black Angus Beef Patties with Seasoning.” Each package bears a case code of “7703139” and a package code “packed/chilled by 08/15/07.”

* 20-pound boxes of “TNT Thick ‘n’ Tender Black Angus Ground Beef Patties.” Each package bears a case code of “7700922” and a package code “packed/chilled by 08/15/07.”

* 32.4-pound boxes of “100% Black Angus Ground Beef Patties.” Each package bears a case code of “7700932” and a package code “packed/chilled by 08/15/07.”

* 36.0-pound boxes of “100% Black Angus Ground Beef Patties.” Each package bears a case code of “7700983” and a package code “packed/chilled by 08/15/07.”

  • John Munsell

    “John Munsell” wrote:
    Hello Dr. Raymond:
    FSIS just announced recall # 42-2007 of 845,000 lbs of ground beef because it may be contaminated with e.coli. The impacted plant this time is Cargill establishment # 924A in Butler, WI. The agency’s website states that this plant is a processing plant, not a slaughter plant.
    The May 2007 National Provisioner lists Cargill as the 2nd largest plant in our industry, with 27 plants and 33,000 employees. I would presume that Cargill’s slaughter plants provide the bulk, if not all of the trimmings which its Butler plant uses for ground beef production. It will be interesting to see if the agency’s investigation results in enforcement actions against Cargill’s noncompliant slaughter plant(s) which made a victim of its own in-house processing establishment.
    We’ve all seen how another victimized downline, further processing plant (Topps) was forced to close its doors yesterday because of implications of its recent E.coli recall. 87 former employees at Topps are now unemployed, caused (primarily) by Topps’ unwitting purchase and further processing of previously-contaminated meat. I’ll guarantee you that Cargill will not go out of business over this recall, even though its recalled meat emanated either totally or in part by grinding Cargill trimmings.
    Admittedly, tracebacks to the slaughter house origin of contaminated meat are more difficult when a recall is due to outbreaks in commerce. When e.coli-contamianted meat is detected while still in the grinding plant, tracebacks to the noncompliant slaughter plant “should be” more easily accomplished. Either way, tracebacks to the true origin of contamination would be tremendously simplified via copious source documentation when (a) meat is sampled at the grinding plant, and (b) when outbreaks occur. When outbreaks occur, the hot meat came from boxes which are identified with the grinding plant est #, and frequently the batch number and date of production. Under the “science based” HACCP system, grinding plants should document the origin of all trimmings which go into each batch of grind. If the batch is commingled, the grinder can list the various origins of the commingled batch. But, as you know, FSIS policy makers don’t want to be confronted with such evidence, and do not allow such documentation by agency employees. I have a workable solution for you.
    The Minneapolis District Office this past spring displayed its proactive food safety focus when it mandated their inspectors to “request” source origination data from plants when the agency collects ground beef samples for analysis at USDA labs. It can be done. You may also know that on July 26, 2002, FSIS Office of Field Operations sent an email to all its District Office Managers mandating that “At the time the [ground beef] sample is taken, the IIC will obtain from the establishment, the name, point of contact, and phone number for the establishments supplying the source materials for the lot of ground beef being sampled”. You may also know that an agency spokesman publicly stated three months later that the procedure had been rescinded “for legal reasons”.
    As you know, I’ve written “The Traceback Bill” which if introduced and passed would require FSIS to document all slaughter plant source origination evidence at the time of ground beef sample collection. Dr. Raymond, I humbly suggest to you that in light of this year’s inevitable substantial number of e.coli recalls, as well as the tonnages involved, that now might be the time for your staff to seriously consider a unilateral and voluntary willingness to implement common sense, and pro-public health changes to the agency’s indefensible unwillingness to document pertinent pathogen source evidence. Why place the agency in a public relations nightmare amidst adverse media coverage of being forced by congress to implement such changes, when the agency could do so on its own? And it could do so in a positive manner, absent any acknowledgement of past policy shortcomings. Under the long-overdue leadership you have provided, FSIS could make mid-course HACCP policy changes which will do more to pre-empt the recurring incidence of production of pathogen contaminated meat than any previous initiatives. FSIS has already commenced policies to detect the SOURCE of salmonella (2-24-06 hearing in Atlanta) , and would gain positive media coverage and endorsements by the public health and scientific communities if it would attack the true origin of e.coli in the absence of current artificial restrictions.
    These multiple and sizeable recalls are an embarrassment not only for our livestock and processing industries, but also for FSIS. They reveal that consumers remain at some risk, and that HACCP needs fine tuning. Actions can be taken now at THE SOURCE, or we are guaranteed more of the same public revelations. This has got to be disconcerting to you, as this year has occurred under your watch, even though you are not responsible for existing HACCP policies. I hope you are not even slightly considering going home to Nebraska. Instead, I encourage you not only to stay, but make your watch a historical remembrance of how one man can make a difference.
    John Munsell

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