CSPI Warns of More Recalls Linked to Beef, Lettuce
Statement of CSPI Staff Attorney Sarah A. Klein
As August grilling season marches on and consumers top their burgers with lettuce, the unfortunate parade of outbreaks and recalls linked to contaminated food continues. USDA and FDA have each recently announced significant recalls of ground beef contaminated with E. coli and bagged lettuce contaminated with Listeria.
Valley Meat Company is recalling approximately one million pounds of frozen ground beef patties and bulk ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. At least seven consumers have already been sickened. E.coli 0157:H7 can cause severe illness with lifelong medical repercussions, or death. Consumers should check their freezers for meat labeled with any of the product names or codes listed here: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/News_&_Events/Recall_048_2010_Release/index.asp. In addition, consumers should always cook ground beef to at least 160 degrees, using a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the patty to determine this. Consumers should also be careful when thawing and handling ground beef to avoid cross-contamination on cutting boards, utensils, and kitchen surfaces.
Fresh Express has recalled nearly 3,000 cases of Veggie Lovers salad because it may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. Listeria is particularly dangerous for pregnant women, and can cause miscarriage, still-birth, or severe birth defects. Consumers are advised to check their refrigerators for this product, labeled with a Product Code of I208 and Use-by Date of August 10, 2010. Unfortunately, re-washing bagged lettuce does not remove pathogens and may spread contamination around the kitchen.
Consumers who suspect they may have contracted a foodborne illness should seek medical care and contact their local health department.
Contact Jeff Cronin (jcronin[at]cspinet.org) or Ariana Stone (astone[at]cspinet.org).