The National Beef Packing company this week recalled almost 23,000 pounds of ground beef over fears it could be contaminated with E. coli. The Missouri company issued the recall after the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service tested a ground beef sample positive for the bacteria. As of Wednesday, there have been no reported illnesses related to the beef.
The recall is regional, affecting 22,737 pounds of ground beef produced on May 25 2013. The products are all 10-pound packs of National Beef-branded beef and chuck. Packages of 80/20 Coarse Ground Chuck, 81/19 Coarse Ground Beef, 80/20 Fine Ground Chuck with sell by dates of June 14, 2013 are all included in the recall. The package codes for these products are 0481, 0421, and 0484. The products were shipped in 70-pound boxes to distributors and military commissaries in the Kansas City area.
The products are no longer available to consumers, though there are still concerns that some packages could still be found in consumers' freezers. National Beef has stated that it is cooperating with authorities to investigate the meat and is in the process of contacting customers who purchased it.
E. coli can cause severe diarrhea, abdominal cramps, dehydration, and, in rare cases, death. The USDA recommends using a food thermometer to ensure that ground beef is cooked to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.