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6-Month Old Beef Recalled: Check Your Freezer

A one million pound recall of ground beef contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 associated with an outbreak in California may have come too late to do much good.

Still, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is concerned that some of the meat might still be lurking in home or commercial freezers.

The ground beef from a California company was produced between Oct. 2, 2009 and Jan. 12, 2010.

Six people were infected with a rare strain of E. coli O157:H7 as identified by PFGE sub-typing between April 8 and June 10, 2010, according to the California Department of Public Health.  Their illnesses were eventually linked to the consumption of meat produced by Modesto-based Valley Meat Company.  A seventh patient from February was added to the outbreak case-count.

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service says it learned of the problem from California health officials on July 15, but it took three more weeks for the federal meat regulatory authority to link the outbreak up with the right meat packer and get a recall going.

Valley Meat Company, which has been owned by Russell Heffner since he bought the business from his parents in 1987, announced on August 6 the recall of one million pounds of frozen ground beef patties and bulk ground beef products for possible contamination with E. coli O157:H7.  This recall raised the total amount of beef recalled so far in 2010 to over 7.1 million pounds.

With six months and 25 days between the last date of production and the recall announcement, about the only place the potentially contaminated beef could be is in somebody’s freezer.  FSIS has not yet released a list of retailers where consumers might have purchased the recalled ground beef.

Valley Meat sold the beef in California, Texas, Oregon, Arizona, and to foreign outlets.

hamburger-patties-featured.jpgThe products subject to recall bear the establishment number “EST. 8268” inside the USDA mark of inspection as well as a production code of 27509 through 01210.

In a statement, FSIS said it strongly encourages consumers to check their freezers and immediately discard any product that is the subject of this recall.   The products to look for include:

(#2155) *IQF* 80/20% BEEF PATTIES 8/1R

(#2503) SMASHBURGER 40/7 OZ. – VAC PACK

(#2510) IQF 80/20% BEEF PATTIES 2/1 OVAL

(#2515) *IQF* 80/20% BEEF PATTIES 2/1 R

(#2535) IQF 80/20% BEEF PATTIES 3/1 OVAL

(#2545) IQF 80/20% BEEF PATTIES 3/1R

(#2575) *IQF* 80/20% BEEF PATTIES 4/1R

(#2595) IQF – 80/20% PATTIES 4/1R THIN

(#2605) *IQF* 80/20% BEEF PATTIES 5/1R

(#2635) *IQF* 80/20% BEEF PATTIES 6/1R

(#2668) BEEF CHUCK PATTIES 7 OZ- 21#

(#3075) *IQF* 85/15% PATTIES 4/1R USFI

(#3090) ‘RPQ’ 85/15 PATTIES 160/4 OZ.

(#3325) “RPQ” 90/10 BEEF PATTIES 40/4 OZ

(#3350) 90/10% BEEF PATTIES 160/4 OZ.

(#3450)SUPREMAS BEEF PATTIES 12/3#

(#3519) *IQF* 4/1 SOY PATTIES 80/20%

(#3520) *IQF* 5/1 SOY PATTIES 80/20%

(#3522) *IQF* 6/1 SOY PATTIES 80/20%

(#3675) BEEF SOY PATTIES RETAIL 6/5#

(#3700) 73/27% RETAIL PATTIES – 12/3#

(#3705) 73/27% RETAIL PATTIES – 6/5#

(#3710) 73/27% RETAIL PATTIES – 8/3#

(#3715) BIGGER VALLEY BURGER – 6/5#

(#3725) 80/20 BIGGER BURGER 12/3#

(#3751) 80/20% RETAIL PATTIES 12/3#

(#3800) 85/15% RETAIL PATTIES – 12/3#

(#3850) BLACK ANGUS BURGER 12/2# BOX

(#3875) 93/7% BEEF PATTIES 12/3# RETAIL

(#3880) BUTCHER’S CUT 73/27 RETAIL BOXES 8#

(#3882) BUTCHER’S CUT 73/27 PATTIES 12/2.5#

(#3883) BUTCHER’S CUT 80/20 PATTIES 12/2.5#

(#4000) 73/27% GROUND BEEF 10/1#

(#4001) 73/27% GROUND BEEF 20/2#

(#4005) 73/27% GROUND BEEF – 40/1#

(#4015) 73/27% GROUND BEEF 4/5#

(#4020) 73/27% GROUND BEEF – 8/5#

(#4030) 73/27% GROUND BEEF 4/10#

(#4035) 73/27% GROUND BEEF 15/3#

(#4300) 80/20% GROUND BEEF 10/1#

(#4305) 80/20% GROUND BEEF – 40/1#

(#4310) 80/20% GROUND BEEF 4/5#

(#4315) 80/20% GROUND BEEF 8/5#

(#4325) 80/20% GROUND BEEF – 4/10#

(#4326)*FRESH** 80/20% GROUND BEEF 4/10#

(#4328)80/20 GROUND BEEF 4/10# WHITE BOX

(#4329) ‘RPQ’ 80/20% GROUND BEEF 4/10#

(#4335)80/20% GROUND BEEF 2/5# – PRINTED

(#4610) 85/15% GROUND BEEF 4/5#

(#4615) 85/15% GROUND BEEF 8/5#

(#4625) “RPQ” 85/15% GROUND BEEF 4/10#

(#4630) 85/15% G B 4/10# CLEAR-generic

<>(#4915) 90/10% GROUND BEEF – 8/5#

(#4925) 90/10% GROUND BEEF 4/10# / WHITE

(#4930) 90/10% G B 4/10# / CLEAR-generic

(#4980) 93/7% GROUND BEEF 4/10#

(2714) HEARST 80/20 PATTIES 5/1R -10#

(2715) HEARST GROUND BEEF 12/1# RETAIL

E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration, and in the most severe cases, kidney failure.

FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify that firms notify their customers (including restaurants) of a recall and that steps are taken to make certain that a suspect product is no longer available to consumers.

Valley Meat Company is housed in a 156,000 square-foot building located north of the Modesto Airport.  It produces beef, pork, and poultry for retail, food service, and military sales. About 70 people work for the privately held company with sales estimated by outside sources at $11.5 million annually.

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