E. coli has been found in hamburger meat at companies on opposite coasts, leading to a recall of tens of thousands of pounds of ground beef and patties just ahead of the July 4th holiday weekend.
Nearly 40,000 pounds of ground beef from processing distributors in California and New York are involved in the two separate recalls, both involving the same strain of E.coli, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.
In California, the South Gate Meat Co. issued a recall of 35,000 pounds of meat packaged for food service use. The boxes were primarily shipped to restaurants in Los Angeles and Orange counties.
The contamination was found during routine testing by the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service.
Crown I Enterprises on Long Island issued a recall of about 3,700 pounds of beef under the W.B. Stockyard brand, which was shipped to restaurants and other food service establishments in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
The USDA describes E. coli O157:H7 as "a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration, and in the most severe cases, kidney failure." The elderly, very young and those with weak immune systems are most vulnerable.
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