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Beef Recall; It’s Not For Dinner (Again)

Posted in E. coli,Food Safety,Our Blog,Outbreaks & Recalls on January 8, 2019

JBS USA is the Nation’s largest beef processor and the recalls are flying out yet again. This time nearly 50 tons of ground beef have been pulled from shelves due to Ecoli.

CBS News reported the following: Swift Beef Co. recalled 99.260 pounds of ground beef that many be contaminated with E. coli, a potentially deadly bacteria, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced.

Swift Beef shipped the recalled meat to retail distributors for further processing and food service providers for institutional use in five states, including California, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington, the agency said.

The problem was discovered the previous day after the FSIS found E. coli in the beef of a Swift Beef customer. That led to a recall of roughly 530 pounds of ground beef, patties and meatballs shipped to restaurants across Utah.

Swift Beef is part of JBS USA, which in early October recalled 6.9 million pounds of beef tied to a 25-state salmonella outbreak that has now stricken 246 people, 59 of whom were hospitalized, the Centers for Disease Control reported.

JBS confirmed the recall in an email to CBS MoneyWatch. A spokesperson said in a statement that “while only one sample in commerce tested positive and no consumers have reported illness, we have taken this cautious approach in the interests of consumer safety.”

JBS is working with the USDA to make sure “potentially impacted product is removed from stores and homes,” noted the spokesperson, who declined comment on whether there was any connection between the recalls and whether the company had made any changes as a result.

Products Impacted:

The bulk ground beef was produced on Oct. 24, 2018. The following products are subject to recall: [View Labels (PDF only)]

  • 2,000 lb. – bulk pallets of Swift Ground Beef 81/19 (81% lean) Fine Grind Combo bearing product code 42982.
  • 8-10 lb. – plastic wrapped chubs of “blue ribbon BEEF” Ground Beef 81/19 (81% lean) Coarse Grind bearing product code 42410.
  • 8-10 lb. – plastic wrapped chubs of “blue ribbon BEEF” Ground Beef 93/07 (93% lean) Coarse Grind bearing product code 42413.
  • 8-10 lb. – plastic wrapped chubs of “blue ribbon BEEF” Ground Beef 85/15 (85% lean) Coarse Grind bearing product code 42415.
  • 8-10 lb. – plastic wrapped chubs of “blue ribbon BEEF” Ground Beef 73/27 (73% lean) Coarse Grind bearing product code 42510.

The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. 628” inside the USDA mark of inspection.

The USDA gives advice to anyone who may have been affected by this recall:

Anyone concerned about an injury or illness should contact a healthcare provider. E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause dehydration, bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps 2–8 days (3–4 days, on average) after exposure the organism. While most people recover within a week, some develop a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). This condition can occur among persons of any age but is most common in children under 5-years old and older adults. It is marked by easy bruising, pallor, and decreased urine output. Persons who experience these symptoms should seek emergency medical care immediately.

Eat Local?

Many people are looking to their neighboring farmers due to these recalls. In my area because it is extremely rural people often source their meats from their own neighborhoods (or communities). We happen to purchase a steer once per year and split it with my parents. He is raised on ground about 3 miles from our home and we know what he eats, how he lives and what water he is drinking. We often tell people these steers who happen to be certified Black Angus are treated to the day-spa lifestyle while they are being raised. People like myself often choose this route to know exactly where their food is coming from as much as possible. The steer is then transported to a local meat processor who is USDA certified and we get meats back that are vacuum sealed and have printed labels to let us know that the meat has passed USDA certifications as far as the processing and packaging as well as the cut of meat.

At the end of the day often knowing where your food is sourced from can limit the fear and trepidation that people are having over these recalls, especially parents like myself who worry that if their children get sick from a recalled meat or even vegetable these days can be way worse than an adult becoming ill.

These are obviously choices that have to be weighed very carefully as a parent and even as a non-parent for where and how you want to source your foods and honestly there are places where it would be hard to get fresh meats and vegetables as we do in the more rural areas. I can’t imagine a 2000 pound steer running amok in Washington, DC but it does work here and we are thankful for it especially in the wake of these recalls and hearing about the illnesses that come with them.


“Cooking food thoroughly and handling it correctly is critically important,” said Carmen Rottenberg, acting deputy undersecretary for the USDA’s Office for Food Safety. “The food produced is not sterile. … People want to cook raw food and prepare it at home. If you prepare it at home, you have to know there are some risks associated with it.”

The beef industry says it’s reducing foodborne pathogens at every stage of the supply chain.

“Since 1993, cattle farmers and ranchers have invested tens of millions of dollars in safety research programs and the industry as a whole invests over $500 million annually in beef safety research, testing and technology implementation,” the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association said in an email. “Nothing is more important to the beef industry than the safety of our consumers.”

Unlike unprocessed produce or whole cuts of meat, ground beef is composed of bits and pieces from many different animals — each with the potential to taint the whole batch.

“When you buy a chicken breast, how many animals is that? One. Ground beef? As many as 400 animals in commercially processed beef,” said Northeastern University food safety expert Darin Detwiler. “Unless you buy steak from the grocer and grind it up yourself, you’re talking about Russian roulette.”

By: Samantha Cooper, Contributing Writer (Non-Lawyer)