Massive Beef Recalls Since November Due to E. Coli & Salmonella Contamination

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

In the last few months, nearly 3,000,000 pounds of beef and sausage products have been recalled due to possible E. Coli and Salmonella contamination.  The most recent recall was by Daniele International, a corporation that operates in Pascoag and Mapleville RI.  About 1,240,000 pounds of Italian sausage products were recalled.  These foods were ready to eat varieties, and included salami.  This outbreak resulted in at least 184 illnesses across 38 states, which was contributed to contamination by Salmonella Montevideo.

This round of meat contamination began in November of 2009, when Fairbank Farms, a New York company, recalled half a million pounds of ground beef that was thought to be contaminated with E. Coli O157:H7.  This outbreak resulted in five individuals developing HUS (hemolytic uremic syndrome.)  In total, 26 people became ill and 19 had to be hospitalized.

Since then, 3 more episodes of E. Coli contaminated foods have led to recalls.  On Christmas Eve, National Steak and Poultry, an Oklahoma company, recalled 248,000 pounds of tenderized beef products.  At least 21 people are known to have become ill during this outbreak across 16 states.

In Athol, Massachusetts, over 2,500 pounds of beef products were recalled due to possible E. Coli food poisoning contamination.  These products were produced by Adams Farm Slaughterhouse, LLC.  Only one Massachusetts resident is known to have become sick in this incident.  The Massachusetts Department of Public Health conducted an epidemiological investigation, during which a ground beef sample tested positive for E. Coli O157:H7.

In mid January, 846,000 pounds of ground beef product had to be recalled because of possible E. Coli food poisoning contamination.  The FSIS (food inspection branch of the USDA) announced this recall of beef produced by Huntington Meat Packing, Inc., a California based company.

Foodborne illnesses are frequently mild, but severe complications and even death are not out of the question, especially in individuals at increased E. Coli risks.  Young children, pregnant women, the elderly and anyone with a compromised immune system should be especially cautious.  Symptoms usually include stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea, fever and sometimes vomiting.  E. Coli can lead to HUS, especially in infants and young children.  In HUS, most of the toxin gains access to system circulation, which means it can easily attached to weak receptors found on white blood cells.  Organ injury and even death may result.  Damage to the brain, pancreas and kidneys is not unusual when HUS occurs.

If you develop symptoms of E. Coli, contact your doctor at once for treatment.  Those most at risk should take special care to seek medical attention.

14,000 Pounds of Boneless Beef Products Recalled Due to Possible E. Coli Contamination

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

For the third time this year, beef products have been recalled due to possible E. Coli food poisoning contamination.  The latest recall on the list is a voluntary recall by West Missouri Beef, LLC who has recalled 14,000 lbs. of boneless beef products.  This news was revealed in a press release on February 2nd by the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.  This is a Class I recall, which according to the FDA means that there is a reasonable probability that the use or exposure to that product could put individuals at risk of serious health consequences or even death.  E. Coli food poisoning is one of the most serious of foodborne illnesses, so any time it is recalled it is classified as a Class I.

Just in the last three months, over 1,600,000 lbs. of beef products have been recalled.  Approximately two weeks ago, Huntington Meat Packing recalled 864,000 lbs. of beef because of likely E. Coli contamination.  Prior to that, Applebee’s and at least five other restaurant chains were affected by recalled beef and steak products.  This contamination was thought to have originated at an Owasso, Oklahoma plant.  At the time of this announcement, 21 people in 16 states had been made ill, and nine of these had to be hospitalized.  One individual developed HUS (hemolytic uremic syndrome), which is life-threatening.

E. Coli is characterized by abdominal pain and severe cramps, usually followed by diarrhea.  Certain individuals are at high risk of becoming seriously ill.  In infants and young children, HUS, a complication of E. Coli infection, is the number one cause of acute kidney failure.

Others who are at greater risk of serious complications include those who have compromised immune systems and the elderly. People who have had stomach-reduction surgery are also at an increased risk.

Foods that commonly contain the E. Coli bacteria are apple cider and milk that are unpasteurized, beef that is not cooked thoroughly, and soft cheeses.  Food poisoning, while not usually serious, can be fatal in certain circumstances.  Those who develop E. Coli symptoms should see a doctor at once for treatment; especially those most at risk for complications.

Restaurants, food manufacturers and others responsible for handling foods may be held liable for costs associated with E. Coli infection.  Contact an experienced and reputable New York food poisoning attorney, who can advise you of your legal rights.

E. Coli Food Poisoning Risks May Lessen After Proposed Nestle Changes

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

New York food poisoning attorneys know that any move to decrease the risk of foodborne illness is good news.  Recently, Nestle announced that they would make a change after 72 people became ill across 30 states due to consuming cookie dough, and two people recently tested positive for E. Coli O157:H7.

Nestle is making a change in the process it uses to make cookie dough, which may mean that it is in short supply for a time according to Elizabeth Weise of USA Today.  The company will begin heat treating the flour used in making the cookie dough.  While flour is not usually considered dangerous or risky for contracting food poisoning, a study in the Journal of Food Protection found that in wheat flour samples, 0.14% to 1.32% were found to be contaminated with salmonella.  Another study conducted over a decade ago by Cereal Foods World discovered that 12.8% of wheat samples tested positive for the bacteria E. Coli.

Most cases of food poisoning result in stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting and sometimes fever.  Many people never see a doctor, and most likely fail to realize that they may have a foodborne illness.  While most cases are not life-threatening, there have been numerous fatalities in individuals belonging to high risk groups.  Occasionally complications develop, which may require hospitalization for proper E. Coli treatment.

Over the last several years, there have been countless recalls of foods that increase the risk of E. Coli food poisoning.  E. Coli contaminated foods could be reduced if proper measures were carried out in the manufacturing and preparation of foods.  As New York food poisoning attorneys, we want to make an effort to keep the public informed about foodborne illnesses and the possible dangers associated.

There are huge challenges in staying informed about the foods that pose the most danger, and which are in the biggest need of being monitored.  In understanding where the largest amount of risks originate, food safety legislators could determine what levels of inspection would be required in order to be certain that no dangers are present.

E. Coli infection, while usually harmless, can cause severe illness and serious complications in certain individuals.  If you have eaten foods that you feel were tainted and have become ill, see your doctor because this could be an E. Coli symptom.  You may consider contacting a food poisoning attorney, who can advise you about eligibility for compensation of expenses related to your illness.

Strong Evidence Suggests Link Between E. Coli Contaminated Foods and Urinary Tract Infections

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

Recently, McGill researcher Amee Manges has discovered that young women may be placed at increased risk of developing urinary tract infections after eating chicken contaminated with the E. Coli bacteria.  This information was collected after a study was conducted in the Montreal area in collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada, where samples were taken between 2005 and 2007.

A urinary tract infection (UTI) cannot be contracted directly from eating foods contaminated with E. Coli, however the research proved that the bacteria can survive in the intestine without causing symptoms.  In women, the bacteria may then travel from the anal area to the vagina or urethra during sex, which can result in a urinary tract infection.

According to Manges, this should not be cause for great public alarm.  If consumers cook meat thoroughly and take the necessary precautions to prevent E. Coli cross contamination in the kitchen, foods should be safe.  Educating the public on how food poisoning occurs and E. Coli bacteria are spread should help reduce E. Coli outbreaks.

People who are red meat lovers also face a higher risk of becoming infected with E. Coli food poisoning bacteria.  Those who eat red meat regularly can actually be more susceptible to E. Coli than individuals who do not eat red meat on a regular basis.  When consumers eat red meat and dairy products, a sugar molecule known as N-glycolyIneruaminic acid (Neu5Gc) is absorbed, which is a molecule the human body does not produce.  Researchers have found that a bacterial toxin in E. Coli called subtilase cytotoxin targets Neu5Gc, which means that the bacterial toxin found in E. Coli attaches to the cells in the body that have been exposed to Neu5Gc.  This often occurs in the cells of the kidneys and intestinal lining.

E. Coli food poisoning is normally not life threatening, but can cause serious E. Coli health risks in certain individuals.  Young children, pregnant women, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems should seek medical attention at once if E. Coli symptoms develop to determine a diagnosis.  These symptoms include nausea, abdominal cramps, vomiting and diarrhea, which may be bloody.

Those who prepare and manufacture foods should always take special care to wash hands thoroughly after visiting the toilet.  Special attention should be taken as well in the kitchen to prevent possible cross contamination of foods.