Topps Meat Company has expanded a recall of frozen hamburgers to 21.7 million pounds of patties because they may be contaminated with a deadly type of E. coli, making it the second-largest ground beef recall in U.S. history. The largest ground beef recall in U.S. history was the 1997 Hudson Foods Company recall of 25 million pounds of ground beef. The third largest was the ConAgra Foods recall of 2002, which covered 19 million pounds of ground beef.
As of Sunday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had identified 25 cases of E. coli O157:H7 in eight states. Three of those illnesses have been linked to Topps products, and 22 are under investigation, according to the USDA. The cases emerged between July 5 and Sept. 9: two in Connecticut, one in Florida, one in Indiana, one in Maine, seven in New York, five in New Jersey, one in Ohio and seven in Pennsylvania.
While this is the first recall in Topps’ 65-year history, it is not the first time the company has had problems with E. coli O157:H7. In 2005, a 9-year-old girl in Glenmont, N.Y., went into kidney failure after being infected with bacteria linked to a Topps beef patty.