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17 Tons of Organic Ground Beef Recalled

A California company has recalled approximately 34,373 pounds of organic ground beef after microbiological sampling revealed positive results for E. coli O157:H7.

naturesharvest-featured.jpg

First Class Foods, Inc. of Hawthorne, CA, said the ground beef was processed on Dec. 7 and Dec. 16, 2010, and shipped to retailers in California, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Washington state.

This is a Class I recall, signifying a high health risk, according to the news release posted Thursday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.  FSIS said it has not received reports of illnesses associated with the ground beef.

16-oz. packages of Nature’s Harvest Organic Ground Beef Brick sold singly with use- or freeze-by dates of Dec. 30, 2010 or Jan. 8, 2011.

16-oz. packages of Organic Harvest Organic Ground Beef Brick sold singly and in three-packs with use- or freeze-by dates of Dec. 28, 2010 or Jan. 6, 2011.

16-oz. packages of Nature’s Harvest Ground Patty containing four (4) 4-oz. patties with the use- or freeze-by dates of Dec. 30, 2010 or Jan. 8, 2011.

Each package label bears the establishment number “EST. 18895” as well as the identifying Pack Date of “10341 and 10350 Julian date.

When available, the retail distribution list will be posted on the <a href="http://www.fsis.usda.gov/

FSIS_Recalls/

Open_Federal_Cases/

index.asp”>FSIS website. 

© Food Safety News
  • jmunsell

    First Class Foods, Inc merely processes meat, but does not slaughter. Therefore, in all likelihood, this establishment unwittingly purchased previously contaminated meat from one of its source slaughter suppliers.
    I challenge all readers of Food Safety News to closely watch subsequent events as this investigation continues. If FSIS blithely ignores the true SOURCE of food adulteration as it has historically done, the agency will focus its enforcement actions EXCLUSIVELY against the destination of previously contaminated meat (First Class Foods), while insulating from accountability the SOURCE slaughter plant which deposited E.coli bacteria onto carcasses on its kill floor.
    Please remember that when processing plants such as First Class Foods receive previously contaminated meat, the incoming pathogens are invisible. Coupled with the fact that a processing plant cannot test every ounce of meat it processes (there would be no meat left to sell), these downstream further processing plants are essentially left at the mercy of the adequacy of slaughter dressing protocol utilized at their source slaughter providers. What is the FSIS response to this conundrum? Answer: the agency expects the downstream plants to (a) detect incoming pathogens, and (b) remove them. Interesting indeed, because neither the source slaughter plant nor the agency were able to accomplish either (a) or (b) at the source originating slaughter plant.
    A superlative example of the agency’s short-sighted policies is a statement in a June 2, 2005 letter written by Kenneth E. Petersen, Deputy Assistant Administrator in the FSIS Office of Field Operations. The statement says: “I would expect a prudent establishment to have appropriate procedures to determine product acceptability prior to receiving the product”. End quote. As such, the agency callously assigns all liability against downstream further processing plants, as if these plants can CONTROL slaughter protocol at their source slaughter plants.
    Wake up America! As long as FSIS continues to insulate source slaughter plants from accountability, while forcing the victimized downstream plants to be solely responsible for implementing corrective actions to prevent recurrences (good luck), we are virtually guaranteed ongoing outbreaks and recurring recalls.
    USDA’s meat inspection system is NOT science based. Rather, it is based in science fiction and political science.
    John Munsell

  • John Munsell

    First Class Foods, Inc merely processes meat, but does not slaughter. Therefore, in all likelihood, this establishment unwittingly purchased previously contaminated meat from one of its source slaughter suppliers.
    I challenge all readers of Food Safety News to closely watch subsequent events as this investigation continues. If FSIS blithely ignores the true SOURCE of food adulteration as it has historically done, the agency will focus its enforcement actions EXCLUSIVELY against the destination of previously contaminated meat (First Class Foods), while insulating from accountability the SOURCE slaughter plant which deposited E.coli bacteria onto carcasses on its kill floor.
    Please remember that when processing plants such as First Class Foods receive previously contaminated meat, the incoming pathogens are invisible. Coupled with the fact that a processing plant cannot test every ounce of meat it processes (there would be no meat left to sell), these downstream further processing plants are essentially left at the mercy of the adequacy of slaughter dressing protocol utilized at their source slaughter providers. What is the FSIS response to this conundrum? Answer: the agency expects the downstream plants to (a) detect incoming pathogens, and (b) remove them. Interesting indeed, because neither the source slaughter plant nor the agency were able to accomplish either (a) or (b) at the source originating slaughter plant.
    A superlative example of the agency’s short-sighted policies is a statement in a June 2, 2005 letter written by Kenneth E. Petersen, Deputy Assistant Administrator in the FSIS Office of Field Operations. The statement says: “I would expect a prudent establishment to have appropriate procedures to determine product acceptability prior to receiving the product”. End quote. As such, the agency callously assigns all liability against downstream further processing plants, as if these plants can CONTROL slaughter protocol at their source slaughter plants.
    Wake up America! As long as FSIS continues to insulate source slaughter plants from accountability, while forcing the victimized downstream plants to be solely responsible for implementing corrective actions to prevent recurrences (good luck), we are virtually guaranteed ongoing outbreaks and recurring recalls.
    USDA’s meat inspection system is NOT science based. Rather, it is based in science fiction and political science.
    John Munsell

  • Doc Mudd

    John Munsell opines…”in all likelihood, this establishment unwittingly purchased previously contaminated meat from one of its source slaughter suppliers.”
    Hmmm…seems like a powerful argument in support of routine sampling, testing and enforced traceability. Strange that John and his handler, R-CALF, are rabidly opposed to regulated effective traceability back to the farm by programs like NAIS. Is their current ‘argument’ anything more than diversionary simpering intended to shift blame onto USDA & the ‘evil big ag boogieman’, and preserve the convenient “unwitting” state of affairs as a ready excuse for the ‘clueless little guy’?

  • Jess C. Rajan, Ph.D.

    FSIS role may have been limited to reviewing the labels for these “Certified Organic” products. The organic certifications of meat and poultry products are handled by the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service:
    http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Regulations_&_Policies/Certified_Organic/index.asp

  • The E.Coli contamination could’ve happened at any point. A piece of equipment that wasn’t handled properly. An employee who didn’t properly wash his/her hands…etc etc…

  • Inspector Minkpuppy

    Mr. Munsell,
    I assure you, FSIS is addressing the fact that processors may be receiving contaminated meats. I presume you missed the recently issued FSIS Notice 58-10 instructing all inspectors to collect supplier information when sampling is performed? This is a major change from previous practice.
    Also, it is my understanding that the problem was discovered during company sampling. IMO, this is a clear-cut case for mandatory test-and-hold as this product was obviously shipped before the test results were obtained. If the company had waited for the results, we wouldn’t be discussing a recall at all because the product never would have entered commerce.

  • Marc Gendron

    I just returned 2 lbs of the ground beef to Price Chopper in Plattsburgh, NY. The next day the same product was on the shelf again!!!

  • @Marc – Is it possible that it wasn’t the same group that was involved in the recall. Just because it was the same product doesn’t mean it was included in the recall. The items had specific dates on them