Massive E. Coli Outbreak Linked to Ground Beef Sickens 196
A massive ground beef recall initiated in October by JBS USA, the nation’s largest beef processor, for potential salmonella contamination, has gotten even bigger. According to a USA Today news report, an additional 5.1 million pounds have been recalled beyond the 6.9 million pounds recalled two months ago for risk of salmonella contamination. The 12.1 million pounds of raw beef products included in these two recalls were produced between July 26 and Sept. 7 by JBS USA at its JBS Tolleson, Inc. processing plant in Arizona.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says these raw beef products were sold in stores nationwide. The packages have an establishment number “EST. 267” inside the USDA mark of inspection. So far, 246 people from 26 states have reported illnesses that may have been linked to these beef products. Officials are asking consumers to check their freezers for these products and discard them or return them to the place of purchase for a refund.
JBS USA has had other recent recalls. Last month, the company recalled nearly 100,000 pounds of ground beef for possible E. coli contamination. In May, JBS USA recalled 35,464 pounds of raw ground beef for possible contamination with hard plastic pieces. There were no known reports of injury or illness relating to those recalls. Experts say this is one of the largest meat recalls recently. The largest nationwide meat recall occurred in 2008 when Westland/Hallmark Meat recalled 143 million pounds of meat products potentially infected with mad cow disease.
Before that, in 1997, Hudson Foods recalled 25 million pounds of ground beef with staph bacteria sold to Burger King. Other major meat recalls include ConAgra’s 2002 recall of 19 million pounds of ground beef for E. coli contamination and the 21.7 million pounds of beef recalled by 2007 by Topps Meat Co., also for potential E. coli contamination. However, the JBS recall this week is probably the biggest in the last several years making it rather significant.
If You Have Been Affected
Most people infected with salmonella develop symptoms within 12 to 72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria. Some people may require hospitalization. The infection could also spread from the intestines to other places in the body. If you have contracted a salmonella infection through contaminated food, you may be able to seek compensation for your damages by filing a lawsuit against the food producer, processor, retail establishment, restaurant or some other party that was responsible for producing, selling or serving the tainted food. Contact an experienced California food poisoning lawyer for more information about protecting your legal rights.