Check your freezers: Massive recall and public health warning issued over contaminated ground beef

Earlier this week, a Swedesboro, New Jersey-based Lakeside Refrigerated Services issued a recall of more than 120,000 pounds of frozen ground beef after routine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspections revealed possible contamination with a variant of E. coli virus.

So far, no illnesses or reactions have been reported, but on Wednesday the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a separate public health alert for another batch of contaminated beef and urged consumers to check their freezers.

“The issue was discovered after a consumer submitted a retail package of ground beef produced by Empire Packing with a use or freeze date of December 24, 2021 to a third-party laboratory for microbiological analysis,” the report says. FSIS statement. “Consumer reported being ill previously, but was not tested for E. coli. The third-party lab confirmed the ground beef sample was positive for E. coli O26.”

Affected brands include store brands Laura’s and Kroger.

Related: More than 30 fruit and vegetable products are recalled due to listeria concerns

Meanwhile, the FDA recall announcement indicates that the products in question were manufactured between February 1 and April 8 of this year. The product list contains dozens of different labels, under brands such as Thomas Farms, Nature’s Reserve, Tajima and Weis.

All brands included are listed here, with more information available on the official USDA website.

All products included in this recall will have an establishment number printed on the packaging; in this case, all products that have “EST. 46841” under the USDA inspection mark should be disposed of or returned to the store where they were purchased immediately.

Part of the reason this outbreak went undetected is that this form of E. coli – E. coli O103 – may be more difficult to detect through routine testing, according to the USDA press release.

However, E. coli O103 still poses health risks to anyone who might ingest it and can cause severe diarrhea and vomiting that can worsen, especially in immunocompromised people, such as children and the elderly.

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