Aug. 2 update: On July 28, FSIS announced that, based on epidemiological investigation, 14 people from four states have now been identified as sickened in connection with this outbreak, with illness onset dates ranging from June 15 to July 10, 2016. Most of the 14 illnesses have been reported from New Hampshire (10), with two reported from Massachusetts, one from Maine, and one from Vermont, FSIS added. Traceback for 11 people for whom data were available led back to a single slaughter date at PT Farm, the agency stated. FSIS continues to work with the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services on this investigation and will provide updated information as it becomes available. Previous coverage follows: That E. coli O157:H7 illness cluster in New Hampshire, which has grown to 14 cases, is now connected to a recall of about 8,800 pounds of raw beef products by PT Farm LLC in North Haverhill, NH. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) said the recalled products may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. The raw, intact and non-intact beef product items including ground beef, ground beef patties and other sub-primal cuts, were produced between June 6 and June 16. The following products are subject to recall:
- Various weights and various sizes of raw intact and raw non-intact “Chestnut Farms” beef products packed in cardboard boxes.
- Various weights and various sizes of raw intact and raw non-intact “PT Farm” beef products packed in cardboard boxes.
- Various weights and various sizes of raw intact and raw non-intact “Miles Smith Farm” beef products packed in cardboard boxes.
- Various weights and various sizes of raw intact and raw non-intact “Robie Farm” beef products packed in cardboard boxes.
The products subject to recall bear establishment number “M8868” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to retail locations and for institutional use in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. FSIS was notified about the New Hampshire E. coli O157:H7 illness cluster on July 20. Working in conjunction with the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, FSIS determined that there is a link between the beef products from PT Farm and this illness cluster. Based on epidemiological investigation, 14 case-patients have been identified with illness onset dates ranging from June 15 to July 10. Traceback for eight of the patients for whom data was available led back to a single day of production at PT Farm. This investigation is ongoing. FSIS continues to work with the New Hampshire health officials on this investigation and will provide updated information as it becomes available. E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause dehydration, bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps two to eight days after exposure the organism. While most people recover within a week, some develop a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). This condition can occur among persons of any age but is most common in children younger than five and older adults. It is marked by easy bruising, pallor, and decreased urine output. Persons who experience these symptoms should seek emergency medical care immediately. FSIS and the company are concerned that some product may be frozen and in consumers’ freezers. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase. FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify their customers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers. When available, the retail distribution list will be posted on the FSIS website at www.fsis.usda.gov/recalls. FSIS advises all consumers to safely prepare their raw meat products, including fresh and frozen, and only consume beef products that have been cooked to a temperature of 145° F for roasts with a three minute rest time and 160° F for ground meat. The only way to confirm that beef is cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria is to use a food thermometer that measures internal temperature. (To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)