Cargill Recalls 130,000 lb. of Ground Beef for E. Coli Contamination

One death and 17 illnesses have resulted from an E. coli contamination that has forced Cargill to recall more than 130,000 lb. of ground beef. ( Multimedia Graphic Network, Inc. )

The finding of an E. coli contamination has forced Cargill Meat Solutions to recall more than 130,000 lb. of ground beef.

The ground beef was recalled by Cargill on Sept. 19 following the discovering of Escherichia coli O26 in ground beef derived from the chuck portion of the carcass. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the 132,606 lb. of beef was produced at Cargill’s Fort Morgan, Colo. plant and packaged on June 21, 2018.

The beef products bear the establishment number “EST. 86R” inside the USDA mark of inspection. The ground beef was shipped to retail locations across the country.

FSIS was notified on Aug. 16 in regards to an E. coli O26 illnesses investigation. Partnering in the investigation were FSIS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and state public health and agriculture partners who determined raw ground beef was the probable source of the illnesses. The investigation has determined that one death and 17 illnesses occurred from July 5 to July 25 as a result of the contaminated beef.

The recall by Cargill is related to a voluntary recall that Publix Super Markets enacted for ground chuck products at stores in 24 counties throughout Florida.

FSIS is concerned that consumers may have products frozen and stored in freezers. The agency has called it a Class 1 Recall with a “high” health risk.

E. coli can be potentially deadly causing dehydration, bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps 2–8 days (3–4 days, on average) after exposure the organism. FSIS recommends that any consumers who purchased the product to not consume it and either throw it away or return to the store where it was purchased.

All raw beef should be cooked to a temperature of 160°F to reduce the risk of any food borne illness by bacteria according the FSIS. A meat thermometer will help in determining if the food has reached a high enough temperature to kill harmful bacteria.

Last month the same packing plant in Colorado had a similar E. coli recall when more than 25,000 lb. of ground beef was believed to have E. coli O157:H7. That beef was produced on Aug. 16, 2018.