A Nebraska-based meat packer is recalling more than 40,000 pounds of ground beef products that were shipped to institutions and distributors in California and other states over food poisoning concerns. According to an Associated Press news report, the meat, produced by Tyson Fresh Meats Inc. was also shipped to 15 other states. The U.S. Department of Agriculture conducted tests on samples, which detected the presence of the deadly E. coli bacteria in the ground beef products. Other states affected by this recall include Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
The recall includes 10-pound chubs of chuck fine ground beef 80/20, packed in cases containing eight chubs. USDA officials said that they discovered the problem through “routine monitoring.” So far, no illnesses have been reported linked to these defective products. Anyone with questions or concerns is asked to contact Tyson at 866-328-3156.
E. coli Symptoms
In California, during 2008, 242 cases of E. coli were reported, according to the California Department of Health’s web site. E. coli infections typically cause abdominal cramping, vomiting, and diarrhea with bloody stools. Young children and the elderly are at the highest risk for becoming infected with E. coli and developing Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), which can lead to serious kidney damage or even death.
Tips to Avoid Infections
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers several tips to guard against E. coli contamination. First, cook all ground beef products thoroughly. Test the meat by putting a food thermometer in the thickest part of the meat. It should be cooked to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not eat ground beef that is still pink in the middle. If a restaurant serves you an undercooked hamburger, send it back for more cooking. Also, ask for a new bun and a clean plate. While cooking in your own kitchen, keep raw meat away from other foods to prevent cross-contamination.
Protecting Your Rights
If you have been sickened by contaminated meat, isolate the food and preserve it so it can be tested in a lab to determine what the contaminants are. Seek immediate medical attention and contact an experienced California personal injury lawyer who will help protect your legal rights and best interests. Negligent food producers can be held liable for damages including medical expenses, loss of wages, cost of hospitalization, pain and suffering, and emotional distress.