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Wisconsin Firm Recalls Beef Products For Possible E. coli O157:H7

WASHINGTON, Oct. 31, 2003—Abbyland Meats, an Abbotsford, Wis., establishment, is voluntarily recalling approximately 78,600 pounds of fresh boneless beef that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced today.

The products being recalled are various cuts of boneless beef shipped in containers of various weights and intended for further processing (grinding). Each container bears the words "BONELESS BEEF" and USDA establishment number "EST. 1633" inside the USDA mark of inspection.

The beef was produced on Oct. 20, 2003, and distributed to wholesale establishments in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio, Illinois and Pennsylvania.

E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacteria that can cause bloody diarrhea and dehydration. The very young, seniors 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.

Media with questions about the recall may contact Julie Jacobsen, company director of human resources, at 715-223-6386, ext. 7254.

Consumers with questions about the recall may contact Tiffiny Pierce, company microbiologist, at 715-223-6386, ext. 7228.

Consumers with other food safety questions can phone the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHOTLINE. The hotline is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time), Monday through Friday. 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

USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline
1-888-MPHotline or visit www.fsis.usda.gov

Although the product being recalled should be returned to the place of purchase, consumers preparing other ground beef products should heed the following advice.

Consumers should only eat ground beef patties that have been cooked to a safe temperature of 160 ºF. When a ground beef patty is cooked to 160 ºF 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 ºF 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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