200 Tons Of Beef Recalled -
Deadly E. Coli Bacteria Found
GENESEO, Ill. (Reuters) - The world's largest meat packing company recalled more than 200 tons of ground beef from grocery store shelves across the United States and Canada on Friday, fearing contamination by the deadly E. coli bacteria.
IBP Inc. voluntarily recalled the ground beef, produced in May at its packing plants in Illinois and Alberta, from distributors and retailers in 25 states and at least five Canadian provinces after the bacteria was found in samples.
The Dakota Dunes, S.D.-based company and government inspection agencies on both sides of the border stressed no illnesses associated with the meat had been reported, and urged the public not to panic.
IBP said the product posed no danger to consumers as long as the beef was properly handled and cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71 degrees Celsius).
The E. coli found in the ground beef is the same strain that contaminated the water supply in the farming community of Walkerton, Ontario last month, killing seven people and leaving 2,000 others sickened with various symptoms such as bloody diarrhea.
Escherichia coli 0157:H7 is a deadly form of a common bacteria found in the intestines of humans and animals. It attacks the lining of the intestines before damaging the kidneys, possibly leading to kidney failure and death.
IBP said it was recalling nearly 266,000 pounds (120,700 kg) of ground beef produced on May 13 at its Geneseo, Illinois, plant after the U.S. Department of Agriculture found the bacteria in a sample.
The USDA categorized the action as a Class 1 recall because of the ``reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death.''
Since the product has an 18-day shelf life, it was unlikely much of the product remained in the marketplace. But IBP asked its customers to return any still in storage.
In Canada, the company is recalling about 170,000 pounds (77,000 kg) of ground beef produced at its Lakeside Packers unit in Brooks, Alberta.
The contamination in Canada was discovered by the Costco Wholesale Corp. (NasdaqNM:<//ù=t>COST - <>news) chain, which received less than 20,000 pounds (9,000 kg) of the beef at 30 of its stores in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec, and alerted the public.
Costco spokesman Craig Wilson said the recall also affected numerous other retail chains in Canada.
``We're just part of the IBP recall. We're taking care of our members the way we think we should,'' Wilson said from the company's head office in Seattle, Washington.
Jean Kamanzi, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's chief of food-borne pathogens, said: ``The product was tested and it was found positive for E. coli so we recalled it due to caution.''
In the United States, wholesalers, distributors and a small number of retailers that received the affected ground beef were located in the following states: Kansas, Texas, Minnesota, Maine, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Arkansas, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Maryland, Oklahoma, Nebraska, New York, Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama, Ohio, Illinois and Mississippi.
This Site Served by TheHostPros