Hours before millions of Americans sat down for Christmas Eve dinner yesterday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that National Steak and Poultry, of Owassa Oklahoma, was recalling 248,000 of beef over concerns the meat is contaminated with E. coli O157:H7.

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) said it became aware of the problem after a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) investigation of a cluster of E. coli O157:H7 illnesses. 

CDC and FSIS linked the outbreak to non-intact steaks–otherwise known as blade tenderized steaks–which were distributed to restaurants across the country. 

FSIS has yet to disclose which restaurants received the recalled meat.

To date, illnesses linked to the outbreak have been reported in six states: Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, South Dakota, and Washington.

USDA advises anyone with signs or symptoms of foodborne illness to consult a physician. E. coli O157:H7 is especially dangerous to the very young, seniors, and those with weak immune systems.

FSIS announced over 25 types of steaks involved in the recall, all bear an “EST. 6010T” establishment label and are labeled with packaging dates “10/12/2009,” “10/13/2009,” “10/14/2009,” or “10/21/2009.” 

For a complete list of the recalled beef products, see the FSIS release.