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New Hampshire Firm Recalls Ground Beef Patties for Possible E. coli O157:H7 Contamination

WASHINGTON, July 31, 2000--Jac Pac Foods, a Manchester, N.H., firm is voluntarily recalling approximately 210,000 pounds of ground beef patties that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced today.

The ground beef patties were distributed to retail stores and wholesalers. The retail stores are located in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia. The wholesalers are located in Iowa, Maine, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Maryland, Virginia, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Vermont, and Bermuda.

The products being recalled from retail stores are:

  • "TRADER JOE’S" ground beef patties with a sell by date of "061900;"
  • "STOP & SHOP" ground round with a manufacturing code beginning with "161;" and
  • "FRESH MADE" ground beef sold by Shoplink.com with a manufacturing code beginning with "161."

All products bear the plant code "EST. 785" inside the USDA seal of inspection.

The product being recalled from wholesalers involves 10 to 36 pound boxes of ground beef patties. The boxes bear the plant code "EST. 785" and the product code "0161."

"Because of the potential hazard of foodborne illness from consumption of meat products contaminated with pathogens such as the E. coli O157:H7 bacteria, I urge consumers who have purchased the suspect product not to eat it and return it to the place of purchase," said Margaret O'K. Glavin, associate FSIS administrator. "USDA is informing the public so consumers who may have purchased and stored the product in their freezers can know to check."

The problem was discovered during an investigation of illnesses reported in Vermont. The product has not been definitively linked to the illnesses. The investigation is continuing.

E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly pathogen that can cause bloody diarrhea and dehydration. The very young, the elderly, and persons with compromised immune systems are the most susceptible to foodborne illness. Anyone concerned about an illness should contact a physician.

Media with questions about the recall may contact Chuck Hungler, Jac Pac Foods, at (800) 497-2333. Consumers with questions may contact Darryl Armstrong, Jac Pac Foods, at (800) 417-1241.

Consumers with food safety questions can phone the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-800-535-4555. The hotline can be reached from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday, and recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day.

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NOTE: Access news releases and other information at the FSIS Web site at http://www.fsis.usda.gov

PREPARING GROUND BEEF FOR SAFE CONSUMPTION

Consumers should only eat ground beef patties that have been cooked to a safe temperature of 160 F. When a ground beef patty is cooked to 160 F throughout, it can be safe and juicy, regardless of color.

The only way to be sure a ground beef patty is cooked to a high enough temperature to kill harmful bacteria is to use an accurate digital instant-read thermometer.

Color is not a reliable indicator that ground beef patties have been cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria such as E. coli O157:H7.

Eating a pink or red ground beef patty without first verifying that the safe temperature of 160 F has been reached is a significant risk factor for foodborne illness.

Thermometer use to ensure proper cooking temperature is especially important for those who cook or serve ground beef patties to people most at risk for foodborne illness because E. coli O157:H7 can lead to serious illness or even death. Those most at risk include young children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems.




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