A nationwide recall of ground beef for potential E. coli contamination in Canada was officially linked to meat sold in the United Sates late Thursday when U.S. food safety authorities announced a recall of beef trimmings from the implicated Canadian company.
The massive ground beef recall began last week when XL Foods, Inc. of Alberta, Canada recalled a series of ground beef products for a risk of E. coli contamination.
The problem was discovered September 3 when samples of meat from XL Foods were tested at the U.S. border by the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), revealing the presence of E. coli O157:H7 in ground beef products. USDA informed the Canadian Food Inspection Agency of its findings, prompting further testing that confirmed the need to issue a recall of ground beef products in Canada on September 16.
Over the following three days (Sept. 17, 18 and 19), the Canadian recall extended to include 17 brands and 12 non-branded meats sold nationwide, but the question remained whether or not the potentially contaminated meats had been distributed to the U.S., and FSIS had yet to announce a federal recall of XL Foods’ products in the U.S. as of Thursday afternoon.
However on September 17, a handful of U.S companies announced that they had received and distributed meat from XL foods and issued their own voluntary recalls of these foods.
Then late Thursday FSIS officially announced that potentially contaminated ground beef trimmings from XL Foods were distributed in the U.S. and are subject to a recall.
The trimmings were distributed to establishments in California, Michigan, Nebraska, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin, according to the recall notice.
FSIS says it is working to confirm that any potentially contaminated beef trimmings that entered the U.S. either received full lethality treatment (to kill pathogens) or was not distributed as a ready-to-eat product.
The agency is investigating whether the affected product was sold for further processing into other products, such as ground beef, ground beef patties, beef jerky or pastrami.
When available, a list of retailers who received the recalled beef products will be available on FSIS’s website.
“We are working in cooperation with all processors and retailers that received this product and instructed them to remove all product from store shelves as quickly as possible,” says XL Foods in a recorded statement on its media relations phone line.
The company says it is aware of some E. coli infections that are being investigated as potentially connected to the recalled product.
“We understand there are some illnesses being investigated to determine a link between the recalled product,” says the company in its recording. However, “At this time no linkage has been determined,” the recording states.
Symptoms of E. coli infection include nausea, stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhea that may become watery or bloody.
If you think you may have contracted an E. coli infection, contact your healthcare provider.© Food Safety News