United States to Issue New Meat Safety Guidelines as Recalls Pile Up
E. coli has been in the news spurring recalls and causing illnesses across the nation.
According to media reports, a Nebraska-based meat company, All American Meats, is recalling 167,427 pounds of ground beef that was distributed nationwide because of possible E. coli contamination.
The contamination was discovered during routine tests conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.
The meat was sold in 60- to 80-pound packages and was distributed to retail locations nationwide. So far, no illnesses have been reported with regard to these products.
But that hasn’t been the case with a number of people who ate at Chipotle restaurants in Washington and Oregon.
As of Friday, three people in the Portland area and 19 people in western Washington had become sick from E. coli. Seventeen of them had eaten at a Chipotle restaurant during the past few weeks.
Eight people have been hospitalized, but so far, no deaths have been reported. Food safety officials in Washington and Oregon expect the number of cases to rise.
Chipotle has closed 43 restaurants amid this food poisoning outbreak.
What You Should Know
E. coli are basically bacteria that live in the intestines of people and animals. The types of E. coli that cause symptoms such as diarrhea can be spread through contaminated food or water.
There are several strains of the bacteria and shiga toxin-producing strains of E. coli called STECs are the usual culprits when it comes to infections and outbreaks.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 265,000 STEC infections happen each year in the United States.
Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome or HUS is a severe, life-threatening complication that causes kidney damage. This complication occurs in roughly 10 percent of those who contract an E. coli infection.
Responsibility of Food Producers
Food producers have a responsibility and a legal obligation to manufacture and process food that is safe for consumers. When they put tainted meat and products in the market, food producers can be held liable for the harm that these products cause.
This also applies to restaurants and establishments that serve food.
If you have become ill as a result of eating tainted meat or other products, make sure you get prompt medical attention. Report your illness to your local health agency.
If you have any of the tainted food left over, isolate it so it can be independently tested in a lab for pathogens.
Contact an experienced California food poisoning attorney who will work diligently to protect your rights and help you secure fair and full compensation for all your losses.