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Publix Cargill E coli Ground Beef Recall

Posted in E. coli,Outbreaks & Recalls on September 22, 2018

The BBQ season is over. The daily banquets of your favorite grilled meat is on hold for another year unfortunately. Unfortunately, there is news outbreaking of the Publix Cargill E coli Ground Beef recall and outbreak to further compound the misery of carnivores. Cargill Meat Solutions is currently trying to manage an outbreak of E. 026.  Cargill Meat Solutions supplied ground beef products to the affected four states. The company, based out of Fort Morgan, Colo. is recalling around 132,606 pounds of ground beef from the chuck portion of the carcass, as announced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). The company shipped the contaminated meats to warehouses in California and Illinois. The outbreak as sickened 18 people. Those who are ill are fighting an E. coli infection. Sadly, one person has died. Beef lovers, please read the following information attentively!

So far, we know …

First, we will g over what we know. Cargill Meat Solutions in Fort Morgan, Colo. produced the ground beef items with potentially contaminated meat. These products bear the United States Department Agriculture inspection mark on the package stating “EST. 86R” on the inside. Cargill shipped the meat across the country. Consequently, the potential for a catastrophic nationwide outbreak is vast, especially given the dozen varieties of products utilized by the beef.

The first signs of a potential outbreak occurred when ill people reported symptoms between July 5 and 25.  According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, illnesses have been reported in four states: Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts and Tennessee. The FDA investigation led to the recall of ground beef products on August 30, 2018 and related to Recall 072-2018. This recall found that E. coli 026 was indeed present in the Cargill Meat Solutions products. The investigators linked tracebacks of the contaminated ground beef to those who were sick.

The Recall

FSIS issued the following recall announcement; “we are concerned that some products may be frozen and in consumers’ freezers. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase”.

To effectively manage the outbreak, FSIS has advised all consumers of meat to prepare raw products safely. They did this with an emphasis on the correct temperature when cooking to kill harmful bacteria. The FDA recommends 160°F as the temperature for cooking raw meat with the use of a food thermometer. They recommend this whether the meat is fresh or frozen. Therefore, a meat thermometer is crucial. Guessing the state of meat, in relation to readiness to eat, with the color is dangerous and gives potential for human error.

Therefore, consumers should follow correct hygienic practices when cooking. Handwashing before and after handling raw meat, poultry and eggs is paramount. This reduces the risk of bacterial cross-contamination in the kitchen. Consumers must take extra caution when washing work surfaces, countertops and other areas of food preparation. Therefore, consumers must cook  ground products more thoroughly.  Any bacteria on the surface of the meat can be ground inside of it.

The CDC Says

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) states that symptoms of E. coli begin between one and 10 days after consuming contaminated food or drink. Most people become sick three to four days after exposure with symptoms including diarrhea, vomiting and fever. Most people, especially healthy people, do not require a visit to the hospital and recover after five or seven days. The very young and older adults are at risk of developing kidney failure.

The Company Says

Cargill Meat Solutions has issued the following statement; “We were distressed to learn a fatality may be related to an E. coli contamination of one of our products, our hearts go out to the families and individuals affected by this issue.” Cargill was also involved in a separate incident of meat packaged on 16 August. This recall resulted in 25,000 pounds of meat recalled as a precaution due to contamination. The contaminated products include the 10-pound chubs of “EXCEL 93/7 FINE GRIND GROUND BEEF” with a use-by/freeze-by date of September 5. This incident of E. coli caused by meats sold at Publix locations did not result in any deaths.

The summer outbreaks of E. coli illustrate the potential for wastage when food is produced on a mass scale. Cargill has to had to recall 150,000 pounds of meat in a month, an absurd number. This wastage is damaging the environment. This comes at a time when knowledge about the devastatingly high level of pollution caused by industrial farming is becoming more mainstream. Also, public awareness of the benefits of vegetarianism is on the rise. Agribusiness that raise cattle on an industrious scale leave themselves vulnerable to contamination. This is especially concerning given the huge amount of meat that is produced daily. Avoiding modern illnesses in meat production is difficult and large scale farming results in situations where contamination can spread throughout the country.

To conclude, the Cargill meat production outbreak shows the devastating damage caused by E. coli outbreaks throughout the food distribution chain. Agribusinesses are susceptible to large scale outbreaks that result in widespread recalls. E. coli is a modern illness that is a result of industrial farming. Consumers are becoming all too familiar with this illness as food safety is challenged by the demand for meat. E. coli affects millions of people in the U.S. each year. This leaves food safety organizations facing an unravelling epidemic that is threatening consumers. Ultimately, effective food safety practices before, during, and after cooking are vital to ensure that the risk of disease is reduced.

Check your freezers

Lastly, the following items, produced and packaged on June 21, 2018, are being recalled:

  • 3-lb. chubs of “OUR CERTIFIED 73/27 FINE GRIND GROUND BEEF” with a USE OR FREEZE BY JUL/11/18 and case code 00228749057646.
  • 3-lb. chubs of “OUR CERTIFIED 73/27 FINE GRIND GROUND BEEF” with a USE OR FREEZE BY JUL/11/18 and case code 00228749002653.
  • 10-lb. chubs of “EXCEL 73/27 FINE GRIND GROUND BEEF” with a Use/Frz. By Jul 11 and case code 00228749089098.
  • 10-lb. chubs of “EXCEL 73/27 FINE GRIND GROUND BEEF” with a Use/Frz. By Jul 11 and case code 90028749002751.
  • 10-lb. chubs of “EXCEL 81/19 FINE GRIND GROUND BEEF” with a Use/Frz. By Jul 11 and case code 90028749003536.
  • 10-lb. chubs of “EXCEL GROUND BEEF 81/19 FINE GRIND” with a Use/Frz. By Jul 11 and case code 00228749003568.
  • 10-lb. chubs of “EXCEL CHUCK GROUND BEEF 81/19 FINE GRIND” with a Use/Frz. By Jul 11 and case code 90028749402773.
  • 20-lb. chubs of “EXCEL 81/19 FINE GRIND GROUND BEEF COMBO” with a Use/Frz. By Jul 11 and case code 90028749073935.
  • 10-lb. chubs of “Sterling Silver CHUCK GROUND BEEF 81/19 FINE GRIND” with a Use/Frz. By Jul 11 and case code 00228749702416.
  • 10-lb. chubs of “CERTIFIED ANGUS BEEF CHUCK GROUND BEEF 81/19 FINE GRIND” with a Use/Frz. By Jul 11 and case code 90028749802405.
  • 10-lb. chubs of “CERTIFIED ANGUS BEEF CHUCK GROUND BEEF 81/19 FINE GRIND” with a Use/Frz. By Jul 11 with case code 00228749802413.
  • 10-lb. chubs of “Fire River Farms CLASSIC GROUND BEEF 81/19 FINE GRIND” with a USE/FREEZE BY: 07/11/2018 with case code 90734730297241.

By: Billy Rayfield, Contributing Writer (Non-Lawyer)