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E. Coli Hazard; Image Courtesy of Pixabay, https://pixabay.com/en/e-coli-hazard-e-coli-warning-skull-1882290/

Tis’ the season for product recalls. Amid concerns of potential E. coli contamination, specifically E. coli O26 and O45, Gold Medal Packing Inc., in Rome, New York, recently recalled nearly 4,607 pounds of boneless veal products. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the recall includes any veal trim and top bottom sirloin that was produced and packaged on two separate occasions, August 16, 2016, and October 25, 2016. The exact product recalls include the 60-pound boxes containing Boneless Veal and the 2,387-pound bin containing top bottom sirloin. Both products are coded with the establishment number “EST. 17965” to help warehouses and others who may have received shipments of the potentially contaminated products better identify them.

USDA; Image Courtesy of Meat & Poultry, http://www.meatpoultry.com/articles/news_home/Food_Safety/2016/10/Beef_veal_products_subject_to.aspx?ID=%7B8F2B722C-1185-4280-9927-7C7B8F15D5FB%7D
USDA; Image Courtesy of Meat & Poultry, http://www.meatpoultry.com/

As of now, the products have only been shipped to a handful of places, so there’s hope that the potential contamination can remain contained. For example, the boneless veal items were shipped to one California warehouse while the top bottom sirloin products were shipped to a handful of distributor locations throughout Pennsylvania.

How was the problem discovered, though? What kind of risks do E. coli O26 and O45 pose to vulnerable consumers? Well, a simple routine sample testing turned up positive for potential contamination, and while there have been no confirmed reports of illness or symptoms from those who have consumed the recalled products, it’s important to point out the possible symptoms and side effects. It’s not uncommon for people to fall ill after eating foods infected with STEC organisms like STEC 026 or 045. Many who do contract the E. coli O26 and O45 infection experience vomiting and diarrhea, and typically recover within a week. In rare instances, the illness can last for a longer duration of time with more severe side effects. To recover from the infection, rehydration is key, as well as seeking out medical care.

It may seem like products left and right are being recalled lately. When you consider the fact that many products made with milk-based products are being recalled across the country for fear of salmonella, along with this new recall for fear of E. coli contamination, consumers may feel wary. In times like these, it’s wise to take measures to protect yourself and your family against infection. An easy way to do this is to ensure that your raw meat products, whether fresh or frozen, are always safely prepared and cooked to the proper temperature. Using food thermometers that can measure internal temperatures is a great way to accomplish this, and is a key step to making sure that products are cooked at high enough temperatures to kill harmful bacteria.

The concern the FSIS has at the moment is that some of the recalled products might be lurking in consumer’s freezers and that many consumers might not even be aware of the risk or recall. That’s why it’s important to spread the news, and for consumers to be aware of what’s going on around them. As with any type of product recall, consumers who have any of the potentially contaminated products are urged not to eat them. Rather, the products should be returned or thrown away.

Sources:

USDA: Veal products recalled, possible E. Coli contamination

Gold Medal Packing Inc. Recalls Veal Products Due to Possible E. coli O26 and O45 Contamination

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