Valley Meat Company of Modesto, Calif. is recalling approximately one million pounds of frozen ground beef patties and bulk ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced.
To date, seven people have been stricken with the potentially-deadly E. coli bacterium. The recalled meat was distributed to retail outlets and institutional foodservice providers in California, Texas, Oregon and Arizona, as well as internationally.
A list of retail outlets that sold the recalled meat has not yet been made public, but when available will be will be published on the FISIS website.
FSIS became aware of the problem on July 15 when the agency was notified by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) of six E. coli O157:H7 illnesses with a rare strain of the bacterium, striking victims between April 8 and June 18. After further review, CDPH added another patient from February to the case count, bringing the count to seven.
FSIS says it is continuing to work with the CDPH and Valley Meat on the investigation, and urges anyone with signs or symptoms of foodborne illness to contact a physician.
The potentially-tainted meat bears the establishment number "EST. 8268" inside the USDA mark of inspection as well as a production code of 27509 through 01210. The ground beef was produced between Oct. 2, 2009 and Jan. 12, 2010.
For a full list of the recalled Valley Meat ground beef, visit the Valley Meat website or the FSIS recall notice page.
FSIS and Valley Meat are concerned that some of the recalled beef may still be inside residential refrigerators, and advise consumers to check their freezers and immediately discard any affected beef.
E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration, and in the most severe cases, kidney failure. Children, seniors and persons with weak immune systems are the most susceptible to foodborne illness.
Concerned consumers are encouraged to call a Valley Meat-sponsored help desk at (866) 221-6474.
Valley Meat recalls 1 million pounds of ground beef over E. coli fears