"The very young, the very old, and those with immune systems that have been weakened by cancer, kidney disease, and other illnesses are most at risk and vulnerable to illnesses associated with contaminated food. The symptoms of foodborne illness — such as diarrhea or vomiting, which can cause dehydration — can be very serious. Safe food handling practices at home or anywhere food is served is especially important for those in the "at-risk" group," said the food safety and inspection service on its website.
The recall, announced Monday, affects tainted ground beef items processed in a Detroit, Michigan-based factory between March 31 and April 18.
The recall was initiated after FDA officials suspected the ground beef sold for use in restaurants may be contaminated by the E. coli bacteria.
In addition to being sent throughout Michigan, the ground beef from the Wolverine Packing Company also reached Ohio, Missouri, and Massachusetts. But, officials warn the beef may have been distributed nationwide.
The ground beef recalled have an establishment number that reads as “EST.2574B” and a production date code that says “Packing Nos.:” with numbers ranging from “03 31 14″ to “04 18 14,” which correspond to the date range connected with the recall.
The recall was ordered after a Massachusetts resident, along with five from Michigan, four from Ohio and one from Missouri became ill with E. coli. Though several strains of E. coli are harmless to humans, this case involves the dangerous strain o157:H7.
"E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause dehydration, bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps 2?8 days (3-4 days, on average) after exposure the organism," said the USDA. "While most people recover within a week, some develop a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). This condition can occur among persons of any age but is most common in children under 5-years old and older adults. It is marked by easy bruising, pallor, and decreased urine output. Persons who experience these symptoms should seek emergency medical care immediately."
According to the USDA, ground beef should be cooked to 160 degrees to kill any harmful bacteria.
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