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Posted in E. coli,Our Blog,Outbreaks & Recalls on November 11, 2019
Ground beef has again found itself the subject of yet another Ecoli O157 outbreak. This time, New Seasons Market is the brand source. Here is everything we know about the New Seasons Market Ground Beef Ecoli Outbreak:
The Oregon Health Authority announced that it identified the outbreak after laboratory tests conducted at the Oregon State Public Health Laboratory determined that an identical strain of E. coli O157:H7 was present in three sick patients.
This weekend, Pacific Northwest based retailer, New Seasons Market, announced its recall of fresh ground beef sold at meat counters in three of its stores because it may be contaminated with Escherichia coli O157:H7. According to the recall notice,
“[A]ll NSM fresh in-house ground beef varieties, and fresh in-house made ground beef products such as meat balls, meat loaf and hamburger patties of all varieties, with “Packed On” dates October 19 to October 23, and “Sell By” dates starting October 23, 2019, up to and including October 26, 2019.”
The product comes in 5%, 10% and 20% fat content varieties and is ground at the stores prior to sale.
The affected fresh ground beef was sold at the company’s North Lombard, North Interstate, and Cedar Hills locations, located at:
At this time, New Seasons Market has suspended the sale of fresh ground beef products while Oregon Department of Agriculture continues its investigation.
For now, the Oregon Health Authority is reporting that, “Three people in the Portland metro area have become ill with E. coli O157:H7 infection after having eaten ground beef purchased at different New Seasons outlets. All are recovering from the illness.”
It is not yet known if anyone required hospitalization or developed Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), a deadly potential complication of severe Ecoli infections.
The products implicated were purchased between Oct. 19 and Oct. 23. Oregon Health Authority (OHA) recommends customers who purchased the ground beef between these dates throw it away immediately.
People who ate the product but did not get sick do not need to do anything. If you developed diarrhea after eating it, you should consult your health care provider and tell him or her about the exposure.
Cases of food poisoning are severely underreported. But when you report your food poisoning illness, it helps your local health department identify outbreaks and help keep the community safe. If you believe you became infected with Ecoli in this New Seasons Market Ground Beef Ecoli Outbreak or you any other outbreak, you can report it to the Oregon Health Authority here.
What is Ecoli?
Ecoli (Escherichia coli) is a bacteria that lives in all animals, including humans. Most types of Ecoli are safe to humans, and even our intestines use Ecoli to break down food. The difference is some of E. coli strains are pathogenic. These are the types that cause unpleasant and sometimes serious illnesses.
Signs and Symptoms
Like most other foodborne symptoms, Ecoli is hard to diagnose. This is not due to the ability for hospitals to test to see what has made you ill, it is because the signs are mostly all the same. Do any of these symptoms look familiar?
The majority of people infected with E. coli will exhibit symptoms of diarrhea and abdominal cramps within 2 to 8 days after ingestion of the bacteria.
Urgent medical attention is highly recommended if you or someone you love has the above symptoms. Early medical attention can help reduce the risk of more severe illness and potential long-term complications.
In extreme instances, pay special attention to these indicators that something is severely wrong:
In some circumstances a more serious illness may develop, such as hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). HUS is a type of kidney failure that develops as a result of E. coli infection.
Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), a well-known complication of STEC infections:
Around 5%-10% of the people with STEC illness develops HUS. The risk of developing HUS is highest in children below 5 years of age, adults aged 65 years or older and those who have a weakened immune system. It’s a condition in which small blood vessels in the kidneys becomes damaged or inflamed, which results in clots and ultimately, kidney failure. Symptoms of HUS includes bloody diarrhea, decreased urination, shortness of breath and pale color in cheeks and inside the lower eyelids.
Patients with HUS require hospitalization. Treatment generally depends on the condition of the patient and can happen through transfusion, medication or surgery.
When Should You Contact Your Doctor?
If you have consumed any of the recalled product and have experienced any of the symptoms listed above it is a good idea to reach out to your healthcare provider, even if your symptoms are mild. Linking your illness and experiences may help others by assisting the investigation on the source of the outbreak.
You should contact your healthcare provider if you experience diarrhea lasting for more than 3 days or vomit so much that you cannot keep liquids down or pass very little urine. These are signs of severe dehydration that can result in life-threatening illness.
Ecoli infections can affect anyone, regardless of age, health status, or geographic location. Those who are high risk usually have more severe infections. Of those in the highest risk group, children are among those who are most at risk to develop Ecoli infections with severe symptoms and complications.
How does Ecoli gets into our food?
Ecoli is naturally present in the intestine of many animals including cattle, deer, goats and bison. These animals shed the bacteria in their feces which can then contaminate anything it comes in contact with. Humans infected with the bacteria also shed it in their feces. The bacteria can spread to the meat of animals during slaughtering or when someone who doesn’t properly washes his hands after using the toilet handles the meat. Right now, the reason behind the bison contamination is not known and the investigation is ongoing.
Why is the E. coli O157:H7 bacterium of special concern in ground beef?
According to the USDA, “E. coli O157:H7 is the most well-known Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC), though other STEC strains have also been identified. STECs produce large quantities of a potent toxin that forms in the intestine and causes severe damage to the lining of the intestine. This causes a disease called hemorrhagic colitis, and may also cause Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, particularly in young children. STECs can colonize in the intestines of animals, which could contaminate muscle meat at slaughter.”
Eek! What Should I Do?
Fear not. The CDC has your back. Here is their handy-dandy advice on what to do during an Ecoli ground beef outbreak (and general handling of beef):
“Advice to consumers, retailers, and restaurants:
As always, if you are anyone you love is showing the tell-tale signs of an Ecoli infection after eating beef (or any food for that matter), urgent medical attention is highly recommended. Early medical attention could help reduce the risk of a more severe infection and the potential for long-term complications. Besides, you want to get better. This one is a nasty one.
Our mission is to help families who have been harmed by contaminated food or water. When corporations cause food poisoning outbreaks or Legionnaires disease outbreaks, we use the law to hold them accountable. The Lange Law Firm, PLLC is the only law firm in the nation solely focused on representing families in food poisoning lawsuits and Legionnaires disease lawsuits.
If you were infected with Ecoli after eating fresh ground beef in this New Seasons Market Ground Beef Ecoli Outbreak and are interested in making a legal claim for compensation, we can help. Call us for a free no obligation legal consultation at (833) 330-3663, or send us an e-mail here.
By: Candess Zona-Mendola, Editor (Non-Lawyer)