Greater Omaha Packing Recalls Nearly 300,000 Pounds of Beef Products Due to Possible E. coli Contamination
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Bought any ground beef recently? You might want to have a look at the label.
Greater Omaha Packing has issued a recall on nearly 300,000 pounds of beef products due to potential contamination from E. coli bacteria.
The recalled beef was shipped to Illinois, Indiana, Nebraska, and Minnesota for further processing before being recognized as a potential carrier of the E. coli bacteria. Luckily, there haven’t been any confirmed cases of E. coli in connection to the recalled beef products. According to the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Services (FSIS), the potential contamination was discovered during one of the routine safety checks.
While they weren’t able to identify exactly which brands are affected by the recall, the FSIS informed consumers that all meat associated with the Greater Omaha Packing recall will be stamped with “EST. 960A” in the USDA inspection mark. The FSIS has a complete list of recalled product codes you can check before buying beef products.
Several types of E. coli can cause illness, and this recall was prompted by a Shiga toxin-producing strain. Symptoms of this particular strain of E. coli infection include:
- Stomach cramps
- General digestive upset
- Mild fever
In rare cases, symptoms can lead to “hemolytic uremic syndrome,” a rare but life-threatening illness which affects kidney function. Thankfully, as we mentioned, there have been no reported cases of E. coli infection symptoms in connection to the recall to date.
One important note about the recall is that the meat was intended for “non-intact use,” meaning it was meant to be incorporated into ground meat products like sausage or pre-made meatballs. These types of meat are especially susceptible to harmful E. coli contaminations due to the presence of bacteria throughout the meat. Whole cuts, on the other hand, harbor bacteria on the outside surface where it’s easier to kill at high temperatures.
The FSIS urges consumers to use a thermometer to ensure a temperature of at least 160 F for ground meat, saying, “the only way to confirm that the beef product is cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria is to use a food thermometer that measures internal temperature.”
If you have questions about the recall, you can contact Greater Omaha Packing’s VP of Technical Resources Angel Besta at (402) 515-2727.
For food safety questions, contact the USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) or live chat on the Ask USDA website. Problems with meat, poultry, and egg products should be reported to the Complaint Monitoring System.