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Pennsylvania Firm Recalls Ground Beef For Possible E. coli O157:H7 Contamination

WASHINGTON, August 5, 2000--Moyer Packing Co., a Souderton, Penn., firm, is voluntarily recalling approximately 253,350 pounds of ground beef that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced today. Last Saturday, the firm voluntarily recalled approximately 346,700 pounds of ground beef due to possible E. coli O157:H7 contamination.

The products being recalled today, "MOPAC" pure ground beef, pure ground sirloin, pure ground round and pure ground chuck, were produced on July 19 and packaged in 10-pound packages. The packages bear the plant's establishment number 1311, the production date of "07/19/00," and were shipped in boxes weighing 40 to 60 pounds.

The ground beef was distributed to wholesalers in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, Virginia, Rhode Island, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia. Products involved in the recall may have been reground and repackaged at the retail level.

"Because of the potential for foodborne illness, we want consumers to be aware of the recall," said Margaret O'K. Glavin, associate administrator of FSIS. "Purchasers of ground beef may wish to ask retailers if ground beef at their stores was produced with any of the recalled product."

The problem was discovered through FSIS microbiological sampling. The sample that led to this recall is part of ongoing traceback sampling at the plant. A sample of re-ground beef collected July 26 from a retail store tested positive for E. coli O157:H7. The retail store held and did not sell any of the potentially contaminated product. Product from an unopened package of the lot of Moyer coarse-ground beef believed to have been used in the July 26 retail sample was tested, resulting in today's recall.

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.

FSIS has received no reports of illnesses associated with consumption of this product. Anyone concerned about an illness should contact a physician.

Consumers with questions about the recall may contact Ella Roush, Moyer Packing Co., toll-free at (877) 926-6937. Media with questions may contact Ella Roush, Moyer Packing Co., at (215) 723-5559 extension 4003.

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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