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Ground beef recalled after E. coli found

A large Kansas beef processor is recalling more than 50,000 pounds of ground beef after a sample of its product tested positive for potentially harmful E. coli bacteria, federal food officials say.

No one has been reported sick – the bacteria were discovered in a routine inspection, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports.

The USDA says the National Beef Packing Company, which bills itself as the fourth-largest beef processor in the U.S, produced the recalled products on July 18 and shipped them in 40- to 60-pound cases to retailers, wholesalers, and food service distributors nationwide.

“An investigation determined National Beef Packing Co. was the sole supplier of the source materials used to produce the positive product,” the USDA says.

The company said the recalled beef products all have the establishment number "EST. 208A" inside the USDA mark of inspection. They include:

  • 10 lb. chub of “National Beef” 93/ 7 Fine Ground Beef, Product Code 0707
  • 10 lb. chub of “NatureSource” 80/20 Fine Ground Chuck, Product Code 7031
  • 10 lb. chub of “NatureSource” 85/15 Fine Ground Beef, Product Code 7054
  • 10 lb. chub of “NatureSource” 90/10 Fine Ground Beef, Product Code 7344
  • 10 lb. chub of “NatureSource” 93/ 7 Fine Ground Beef, Product Code 7004
  • 10 lb. chub of “NatureWell 80/20 Fine Ground Chuck, Product Code 7484
  • 10 lb. chub of “NatureWell” 85/15 Fine Ground Beef, Product Code 7454
  • 10 lb. chub of “NatureWell” 90/10 Fine Ground Sirloin, Product Code 7577
  • 10 lb. chub of “NatureWell” 93/7 Fine Ground Beef, Product Code 7404

E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly strain of bacteria that can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration, and in the most severe cases, kidney failure. The very young, seniors and people with weakened immune systems are the most at risk.

Meat recalls are fairly common in the United States.

In December 2009,  248,000 pounds of tenderized beef were recalled after being linked to 21 E. coli O157:H7 infections in 16 states. Six months earlier, food safety advocates had warned the USDA of the risk of foodborne illness in mechanically tenderized meat.