If meat is a staple in your home, you know you have to be careful about how you handle and prepare it to avoid food-borne illnesses. However, even if you're taking all the necessary safety precautions, certain meats could still be putting your health in jeopardy. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) just announced a recall notice through its Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) due to the potential E. coli contamination of one specific type of meat, and nearly 5,000 pounds of the popular product are affected. Read on to discover if a food you have at home could be putting your health in harm's way. And for more foods to ditch, The USDA Just Issued a Salmonella Warning for This Kind of Meat.
Boneless beef imported from Australia is subject to the new recall.
On April 16, the FSIS announced that 4,860 pounds of raw, frozen boneless beef products imported from Australia by JBS USA Food Company were being recalled due to bacterial contamination concerns. The affected meat is sold in 60-pound cardboard boxes with "95CL Boneless Beef Product of Australia" printed on them.
The recalled beef, which was shipped to distributors and processing facilities in New York and Pennsylvania, can also be identified by a packed on date of Sept. 2, 2020, written as "02-SEP-20" and the Australian Establishment Number "EST. 4" on the packaging. And for more health and safety news delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
The beef may be contaminated by a strain of E. coli.
The affected meat may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, a bacterium that may cause "potentially deadly" side effects in certain people, the FSIS reports.
The FSIS says that those with the affected meat at home or at their place of employment are "urged not to utilize them." If you are in possession of the recalled beef, or if it's being used at your workplace, you can contact Kim Holzner, head of JBS Imports, at Kim.Holzner@jbssa.com with questions.
E. coli can cause severe side effects in otherwise healthy individuals.
While the FSIS notes that most individuals who consume E. coli-tainted food recover "within a week," the side effects of the bacterium are no laughing matter. Individuals who come into contact with E. coli often experience abdominal cramps, bloody diarrhea, and dehydration. Among certain individuals—particularly children under the age of 5 and older adults—E. coli exposure can lead to hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, the most obvious symptom of HUS is loss of color in the skin, but some individuals with the condition will also urinate less and have noticeably reduced energy levels. The FSIS notes that bruising easily can also be a symptom of the condition. If you have any of these symptoms, experts recommend seeking immediate medical care. And for another product to be wary of, see why The FDA Just Issued a Warning About This Panera Product.
This isn't the first stateside E. coli outbreak this year.
The boneless beef being pulled from the market isn't the first product that's been subject to E. coli contamination concerns this year. In February, the FSIS issued a public health alert for raw beef produced by Greater Omaha Packing Co. after it was discovered the meat could be contaminated with E. coli, as well. Since the meat was no longer available in stores by the time the alert was issued, no recall was requested.
In March 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also launched an investigation into an E. coli outbreak related to an "unknown food source" that caused 22 illnesses, 11 hospitalizations, and one death. No specific food was subsequently identified by the agency as the cause of the outbreak, although the CDC says the outbreak is officially over. And for more health hazards hiding in plain sight, If You Bought These Popular Chips, the FDA Says Throw Them Away.