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FSIS Issues Another Public Health Alert for Ground Beef Products Due To Possible E. coli O157:H7 Contamination – UPDATE

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is issuing a public health alert for approximately 14,800 pounds of ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, that were produced by Texas American Food Service Corporation, a Fort Worth, Texas, establishment doing business as American Fresh Foods. This public health alert was initiated after a trailer containing the products was reported stolen by the company.  The consumer products subject to this public health alert include:

  • 2-pound approximate weight packages of "73/27 GROUND BEEF" bearing a sell-by date of "12.30.07"
  • 2-pound approximate weight packages of "80/20 GROUND BEEF CHUCK" bearing a sell-by date of "12.31.07"
  • 1-pound approximate weight packages of "85/15 GROUND BEEF ROUND" bearing a sell-by date of "12.31.07"
  • 1-pound approximate weight packages of "90/10 GROUND BEEF SIRLOIN" bearing a sell-by date of "12.31.07"
  • 1-pound approximate weight packages of "96/04 EXTRA LEAN GROUND BEEF, 4% FAT" bearing a sell-by date of "12.31.07"

Each package label bears the establishment number "EST. 13116" inside the USDA mark of inspection and the company name "American Fresh Foods, Ft. Worth, TX 76102" below the nutrition information. Each package has a net weight of approximately 1 to 2 pounds.  Bulk product also subject to this health alert include:

* 40-pound "net wt." box of "73/27 100% GROUND BEEF; REWORK MAP"
* 260-pound "net wt." combo bin of " CHUCK 100% GROUND BEEF; REWORK MAP"
* 370-pound "net wt." combo bin of "SIRLOIN 100% GROUND BEEF; REWORK"

Each bulk product label bears the establishment number "EST. 13116" inside the USDA mark of inspection as well as a date of "12-19-07" with the production information filled in by hand.

WAIT – how did anyone know that the meat that was stolen was contaminated with E. coli O157:H7

UPDATE – Well, I did not have to wait long for an answer.  According to a press release from the company this morning:

FORT WORTH, Texas, Dec. 28 /PRNewswire/ — American Fresh Foods in Ft. Worth, Texas, is urging Texas consumers not to purchase its ground beef under questionable circumstances. This precaution comes after the company reported, early the morning of December 27, the theft of one of its refrigerated trucks containing 14,800 pounds of ground beef products. According to American Fresh Foods’ officials, the stolen meat had been placed in a refrigerated truck and held on the plant’s property. The product, a portion of which had been segregated as possibly affected with E. coli O157:H7, was being removed from fresh commercial sale.

I guess I could have called or emailed FSIS’s Karen?

I’m Karen, the FSIS Virtual Representative. I am an automated response system, available 24/7.  I can answer questions from the public about the prevention of foodborne illness, as well as the safe handling, preparation, and storage of meat, poultry, and egg products, from an extensive database of food safety information.

  • Rosemary Mucklow

    I just received this nice email from my old friend
    Rosemary Mucklow asking me to remove some of the pictures I had earlier post. I have.
    American Fresh Foods in Fort Worth, Texas is a member of National Meat Association. I am Director Emeritus of National Meat Association, located in Oakland, CA. I have tried to reach you several times by telephone in the past 30 minutes since becoming aware of your Marler blog describing the unfortunate circumstances of product that was stolen from the company.
    American Fresh Foods has probably done as much, if not more, than any other single company in the meat industry to produce safe ground beef for consumers. It has been a leader in testing and sampling product, including testing end product before release to commerce. Its VP for food safety has been a leader in the industry in developing safe handling practices that are now avail able industry-wide. He has hosted plant tours for consumer advocates, including STOP, CFA and others, and has also hosted a visit by the Congressional Consumer Caucus to the Texas plant.
    You do the company a great disservice by publishing on your blog today quite disgusting photographs of raw meat on the back end of a truck, not the way beef is transported, and pictures of carcasses hanging in a facility during harvesting. These are not representative of the practices at American Fresh Foods or, for that matter, at the companies that I visit during the course of my work. With 46 years in the industry, I have visited a lot of plants.
    I have tried to call you several times, but I am told that you are on the phone. I respectfully request that you remove these outrageous pictures from your blog immediately, and give some credit to a company that is a leader in the development of safe handling practices for the beef industry, and has been for the past 15 years.
    I hope you will be able to return my call 510-763-1533. Thank you
    Rosemary Mucklow
    Director Emeritus
    National Meat Association
    Oakland, CA

  • The hanging cows did make me gag a little.
    Re: American Fresh Foods, it’s good to know they care. More than can be said for many of the others, in my not-so-important opinion. The stolen truck thing is still baffling me though.