Last week, Consumer Reports issued a health alert after detecting traces of E. coli O157:H7 in a sample of Kroger-brand ground beef. We told you at the time that a recall wasn’t in place, but health authorities were investigating the matter. This particular variant of E. coli is cause for concern, as it can cause troubling symptoms, including a condition called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS). As expected, the health alert is now officially upgraded to a ground beef recall.
The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced a recall that covers more than 28,000 pounds of meat sold across seven states. The recall includes the Kroger-brand beef meat from the Consumer Reports alert.
The Interstate Meat ground beef recall
Interstate Meat announced the recall soon after the Consumer Reports warning was released. The US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) FSIS agency published the announcement on its website.
Interstate Meat produced the ground beef products from the recall on December 20th, 2021. They bear establishment number “EST. 965” inside the USDA mark of inspection. Additionally, the same mark is printed next to the time stamp and “use or freeze by” date. The Consumer Reports warning also covered ground beef produced at the same “EST. 965” factory.
The recall announcement says the issue was reported to FSIS “after a retail package of ground beef was purchased and submitted to a third-party laboratory for microbiological analysis.” The test returned positive results for E. coli O157:H7. The ground beef recall announcement doesn’t mention Consumer Reports, but it seems to corroborate the organization’s findings.
Intestate meat sold the recalled ground beef products in seven states: Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
E. coli and HUS symptoms
FSIS warns that E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium. It can cause dehydration, bloody diarrhea, and abdominal cramps, with symptoms starting 2-8 days after consuming contaminated products. On average, symptoms begin 3-4 days after ingestion. Most people recover within a week. But some people can wind up with Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), which is a type of kidney failure.
HUS can develop in people of any age, but it’s more common in children under five and in the elderly. HUS symptoms include easy bruising, pallor, and decreased urine output. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek medical help immediately.
Similarly, anyone concerned about an E. coli illness should contact a medical professional.
What you should do
If you still have any of the ground beef products from the recall in your fridge or freezer, you should stop consuming them. Throw the meat out or return it to the place of purchase. FSIS also reminds people only to consume ground beef cooked at 160°F. Of course, you shouldn’t eat the ground beef from this recall even if it’s cooked to the proper temperature.
Various meat brands are part of the recall, so check out this FSIS PDF file that contains all the images showing product packages. Also, check out the full ground beef recall announcement at this link for more information, including contact details for Interstate Meat and FSIS.