I spoke with Tonya Mosley of our local NBC station this morning (See Video):

The recalled meat is no longer on store shelves.

SEATTLE – Attorney Bill Marler specializes in food safety cases, and the recent recall of 5.7 million pounds of meat has opened his eyes.  “What’s happening right now is very concerning to me,” said Marler.

The recall is the largest since the ConAgra E. coli outbreak of 2002. Marler says it has all the signs of a national emergency.  “I thought that we the industry had sort of cleaned this up.”

Last Friday, the United Food Group based out of California expanded its earlier recall to include frozen and fresh beef products produced between April 6 and April 20 under the brand names of Moran’s all natural, Miller Meat Company, Stater Brothers, Trader Joe’s Butcher Shop, Inter-American Products and Basha’s.  In Washington State, the beef was sold at Albertson’s and Grocery Outlet under the brand names of Moran’s, State Brothers, and Inter-American products.  In addition, the recalled products were shipped to stores in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming. The affected grocery stores included Albertson’s, Basha’s, Grocery Outlet, Fry’s, “R” Ranch Markets, Save-A-Lot, Save-Mart, Scolari’s Wholesale Markets, Smart and Final, Smith’s, Stater Bros. and Superior Warehouse.

More than 50 people have reportedly become ill. E. coli is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause stomach cramps and diarrhea that may turn bloody. E. coli can sometimes lead to complications including kidney failure.

Marler says manufacturers began testing meat before it went out after the ConAgra outbreak. A system was put in place which mandates all meat should be tested for E.coli before being sent out.  Marler does not have a reason for the latest outbreak, but he has a theory.  “It was either tested or not tested before it was shipped.”

This most recent strain of E.coli is very difficult to cook out of the meat. Marler suggests consumers return or throw away all beef bought from mid-April through mid-May.

“I would not eat it, under any circumstances.”