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Beef Products Recalled for Potential E. coli Contamination

A Utah company is recalling about 38,200 pounds of beef products because they may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7

Dale T. Smith and Sons Meat Packing of Draper, UT issued the voluntary recall after testing conducted by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service revealed the presence of the bacteria.

Products subject to the recall include:

– Various weight combination bins of Boneless Beef “50/50,” “85/15,” “90/10,” “93/07” or “95/05”

– Boxes of primal cuts, subprimal cuts and boxed beef in various weights

These products were packed on August 7, 2012, as indicated on the label of each box, and distributed to wholesale and retail locations in California and Salt Lake City, Utah. The recalled products bear establishment number “EST. 4975,” located inside the USDA mark of inspection on packaging.

The establishment number may not be printed on products available for consumer purchase, as these may have been further processed or repackaged after purchase from Dale T. Smith and Sons.

The problem is thought to have arisen due to refrigeration malfunction. The company is recalling all beef products packaged on August 7 because of the potential that the bacteria may have spread from one product to another via cross-contamination.

Anyone with questions regarding the recall should call the company’s Plant Manager, Mike Smith, at 801-571-3611.

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service urges consumers to cook ground beef products to a temperature of 160 degrees F. If ground beef is in patty form, the center of the patty should reach this temperature. Whole cuts should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees F.

© Food Safety News
  • Two points of clarification should be addressed to the comments above. First of all, a refrigeration malfunction does not INTRODUCE e.coli into meat. E.coli and Salmonella are “Enteric” bacterium, meaning they emanate from intestinal tracts and from manure-covered hides. In short: they primarily emanate from the kill floor, via sloppy dressing procedures.
    If E.coli is present in meat, and the meat is exposed to high temperatures caused by refrigeration malfunction, the E.coli bacteria does indeed multiply, exacerbating the problem. But, high temp’s do NOT introduce E.coli, a huge distinction.
    Perhaps ten years ago, a sample of ground beef which I sent to an outside lab for E.coli analysis was not delivered to the lab on time, and sat in the FedX warehouse over the weekend. When it arrived, warm, at the lab on Monday, the lab manager called to discuss if I would prefer to ship another sample, and destroy the warm sample. He went on to explain that if there was no E.coli in my sample, warm temps would NOT introduce E.coli, only multiply it. We agreed that he should analyze the warm sample, which was negative.
    The article above also refers to “…..the potential that the bacteria may have spread from one product to another via cross-contamination”. End quote. This is an entirely separate issue, pointing at another cause which is disassociated from refrigeration malfunctions. USDA/FSIS places consideration attention to separation of beef carcasses in a holding cooler. If one carcass harbors E.coli, and touches another carcass, the pathogen is easily transferred to another carcass. Please note however, and this is crucial, that carcasses touching each other, or meat products touching each other as referenced above, do NOT introduce E.coli, but merely transfers the bug.
    Whether it is USDA or the industry discussing such issues, don’t be fooled by statements which insinuate that E.coli is INTRODUCED into meat via cross contamination or by refrigeration malfunctions.
    The USDA website reveals that Est. 4975 both slaughters and processes. Just like mine did. It is imperative for USDA (and for consumer safety) to determine if the meat covered by this recall originated at Est. 4975, or at another source slaughter plant. FSIS refused to make this distinction at my plant, and subsequently at dozens of other domestic plants.
    John Munsell

  • Mike

    I agree with John, in that the third-from-the-last paragraph should have been reworded, something to the effect that cross contamination was the probem and the refrigeration malfunction exacerbated the initial problem.