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Food Safety News

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Questions Remain in Steak E. coli Outbreak

A dozen days have passed since the Christmas Eve beef recall by Oklahoma-based National Steak and Poultry and still basic information has not been disclosed.

Not only has the federal government not named all of the 16 states involved, but also National Steak has not disclosed a complete list of restaurants receiving the contaminated blade-tenderized steaks.

steak5.jpgNational Steak recalled 248,000 pounds of beef on Dec. 24, and later said most of it went to Moe’s and Carino’s, national restaurant chains, and the owner of Missouri’s 54th St. Grills, Kansas City-based KRM.

Nine people have been hospitalized in Iowa, Michigan, Kansas, South Dakota, Washington, and Colorado after being struck down with E. coli O157:H7 associated with the recall.

National Steak shipped the sirloin steaks and sirloin tips to restaurants, hotels and institutions nationwide, but has not released a complete list of those receiving the contaminated product.

The only national restaurant chain to step forward on its own to acknowledge that National Steak is one of its suppliers was Darden Restaurants, which owns the Olive Garden chain.

“None of the product supplied to Olive Garden tested positive for any contaminant, ” said Mark Jaronski, director of media and communications for Darden. “In keeping with our industry-leading food safety practices, however, we removed the entire product from our restaurants immediately upon being notified by the supplier on Christmas Eve.  It’s important to point out that this was a regional issue for Olive Garden and not system-wide.”

Applebee’s, supplied by National Steak in the past, has not responded to inquiries by Food Safety News about its possible involvement in the current recall.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service originally said the recall involved six states, but that was apparently wrong from the start.   The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta said the actual number of states involved was 16–and had been since day one.

Although most of the recalled steaks went to restaurants that are retail establishments, FSIS has said on its website that no list of retailers will be made available.   Nor has CDC provided a report on the outbreak neither listing the other ten states involved nor providing any demographic information about the victims.

© Food Safety News