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Home > Food & Drug > Food and Drug Administration Food Recalls

Kentucky Firm Recalls Ground Beef
for E. Coli O157:H7

WASHINGTON, May 23, 2000--A. Thomas Food Service, a Louisville, Ky., processing firm, is voluntarily recalling approximately 300 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.

The ground beef was produced May 17 and distributed to restaurants in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana.

Five and ten pound bags of ground beef were shipped in boxes labeled with the establishment number 7914 inside the USDA mark of inspection. The boxes were also labeled with the product name, Thomas Brand of (80/20) Fresh Ground Beef and the code "1380," which reflects the company’s date of production.

Consumers may wish to ask at the restaurants where they buy meals containing ground beef if the restaurant received any of the recalled product.

"Because of the potential for foodborne illness, we want consumers to be aware of the recall," said Margaret O'K. Glavin, acting administrator of FSIS. "This is an opportunity to remind consumers to always follow the safe handling instructions required on all raw meat and poultry products and cook ground beef to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F."

The problem was discovered through FSIS routine testing.

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 Gayle Hobbs in Customer Service at A. Thomas Food Service, tel. (502) 253-2000. Media inquiries to the company should be directed to A. J. Thomas, Jr., President, at (502) 253-2000.

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, although 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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