Grilling out over the Memorial Day Weekend is a holiday tradition but some Americans might have made the “mis-steak” of using meat products that have been recently recalled and could make their families sick.
In these inflationary times, many like to stock up on their favorite grilling staples such as ground beef when on sale and freeze their purchases for later use.
Consumers, however, need to be aware of ongoing food recalls and safety issues.
In the month leading up to Memorial Day Weekend, for example, the U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued three safety notices about ground beef including a recall of 120,872 pound of ground beef on April 25, 2022 that were shipped nationwide and may be contaminated with E. coli 0103.
Is Recalled Ground Beef in Your Freezer?
Consumers should check their freezers for ground beef products that were produced between February 1, 2022, and April 8, 2022, and bear establishment number “EST. 46841” inside the USDA mark of inspection.
There are a total of 42 products included in this recall of 120,000+ pounds of ground beef. A complete list of products subject to the recall can be found here and photos of labels for the ground beef products recalled can be found here.
The recalled items were shipped by Lakeside Refrigerated Services, a Swedesboro, N.J. establishment and brand names include Thomas Farms, SEG, Nature’s Reserve, Tajima, Marketside Butcher, and Weis.
Distribution areas by state included:
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
“The problem was discovered during routine FSIS testing of imported products. There have been no confirmed reports of illness or adverse reactions due to consumption of these products,” said the FSIS in its recall notice. “FSIS is concerned that some products may be in consumers’ refrigerators or freezers. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.”
Testing for Certain Types of E. coli is Difficult
The FSIS said that many clinical laboratories do not test for non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) such as O103 because it is harder to identify than STEC O157:H7.
People can become ill from STECs 2–8 days (average of 3–4 days) after consuming the organism. Most people infected with STEC O103 develop diarrhea (often bloody) and vomiting.
Some illnesses last longer and can be more severe. Infection is usually diagnosed by testing of a stool sample. Vigorous rehydration and other supportive care are the usual treatment; antibiotic treatment is generally not recommended.
Most people recover within a week, but, rarely, some develop a more severe infection.
Other Ground Beef Safety Issues in Last Month
There have been two other safety issues with ground beef since the recall on April 25 including:
- May 11 Public Health Alert for Raw Ground Beef Products Due to Foreign Material Contamination: Two products produced on April 20, 2022 with the Organic Rancher label (Organic Rancher Ground Beef 93% Lean 7% Fat and Organic Rancher Ground Beef 85% Lean 15% Fat) were shipped to Whole Foods Market locations nationwide. A problem was discovered after the firm received complaints from consumers reporting they found hard, rigid plastic in the ground bee products.
A recall was not requested because the products are no longer available for purchase. The products bear establishment number “EST. 4027” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.
- April 27 Public Health Alert for Ground Beef Products Due to Possible E. coli 026 Contamination: Ground beef products distributed to warehouses in Oregon and Washington and sold at retail locations with labels including: All Natural Laura’s Lean Beef, Kroger Ground Beef Carne Molida, and Private Selection Angus Beef.
The problem was discovered after a consumer submitted a retail package of ground beef produced by Empire Packing bearing a use or freeze by date of “December 24, 2021” to a third-party laboratory for microbiological analysis. The consumer reported previously becoming ill but did not get tested for E coli. The third-party laboratory confirmed the ground beef sample was positive for E. coli O26. A recall was not requested because the products are no longer available for purchase. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.
Other Popular Grilling Items Face Safety Issues
Ground beef is not the only popular grilling item or summer picnic table offerings that faces safety issues as the FSIS has issued several alerts leading up to summer including the following:
- May 26: Recall of Smithfield Packaged Meats Corp. ready-to-eat bacon topping products due to possible foreign matter contamination
- May 18: Recall of America New York Ri Wang Food Group Co., Ltd. ready-to-eat pork sausage products due to possible foreign matter contamination
- May 18: Alert for Great Value Black Forest Ham Water Added product due to possible processing deviation
- May 12 and April 29: Recall of Wayne Farms, LLC, ready-to-eat chicken breast fillet products that may be undercooked
FreshByte Software Offers Ranch-to-Table Traceability
The recent ground beef recalls show how important traceability with products such as FreshByte Software are to protect beef and other products as they move from the ranch to the table.
FreshByte offers total Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) capabilities to meet the new mandates, along with those changes in consumer preferences, industry practices and rising volumes of imports that increasingly complicate the U.S. food chain.
Contact FreshByte today to find out how our software can meet and exceed government regulations and allows for easy tracing as products move along the supply chain to the end user.