FSIS Issues Public Health Alert for Ground Beef Products Due to Possible E. coli O26 Contamination

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is issuing a public health alert due to concerns that specific ground beef products may be adulterated with E. coli O26.

    A recall was not requested because the products are no longer available for purchase.

    The ground beef items for this public health alert were produced on December 16 and 17, 2021. The following products subject to the public health alert are:   

    • 1-lb. foam trays containing “ALL NATURAL LAURA’S LEAN BEEF 92% LEAN 8% FAT GROUND BEEF.” The product is labeled with 350/(timestamp)/Est.31805/002, with the timestamp ranging from 0602 to 1721.
    • 1-lb. foam trays containing “Kroger GROUND BEEF CARNE MOLIDA 96% LEAN 4% FAT.” The product is labeled with 350/(timestamp)/Est.31805/002, with the timestamp ranging from 0602 to 1721.
    • 1-lb. foam trays containing “Kroger GROUND BEEF CARNE MOLIDA 85% LEAN 15% FAT.” The product is labeled with 350/(timestamp)/Est.31805/002, with the timestamp ranging from 0602 to 1721.
    • 1.3-lb. foam trays containing “PRIVATE SELECTION ANGUS BEEF 90% LEAN 10% FAT GROUND SIRLOIN.” The product is labeled with 350/(timestamp)/Est.31805/002, with the timestamp ranging from 0602 to 1721. Additional product is labeled with 351/(timestamp)/Est. 31805/003, with the timestamp ranging from 1549 to 1651.
    • 1-lb. foam trays containing “Kroger GROUND BEEF CARNE MOLIDA 93% LEAN 7% FAT.” The product is labeled with 350/(timestamp)/Est.31805/002, with the timestamp ranging from 0602 to 1721.
    • 1-lb. foam trays containing “Kroger GROUND BEEF CARNE MOLIDA 80% LEAN 20% FAT.” The product is labeled with 350/(timestamp)/Est.31805/002, with the timestamp ranging from 0602 to 1721.

    The ground beef products were distributed to warehouses in Oregon and Washington and sold at retail locations.

    The problem was discovered after a consumer submitted a retail package of ground beef produced by Empire Packing bearing a use or freeze by date of “December 24, 2021” to a third-party laboratory for microbiological analysis. The consumer reported previously becoming ill but did not get tested for E coli.  The third-party laboratory confirmed the ground beef sample was positive for E. coli O26.                                 

    Anyone concerned about an injury or illness should contact a healthcare provider.  

    Many clinical laboratories do not test for non-O157 STEC, such as O26 because it is harder to identify than STEC O157:H7. People can become ill from STECs 2–8 days (average of 3–4 days) after consuming the organism.

    Most people infected with STEC O26 develop diarrhea (often bloody) and vomiting. Some illnesses last longer and can be more severe. Infection is usually diagnosed by testing of a stool sample. Vigorous rehydration and other supportive care is the usual treatment; antibiotic treatment is generally not recommended. Most people recover within a week, but, rarely, some develop a more severe infection. Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure, is uncommon with STEC O26 infection. HUS can occur in people of any age but is most common in children under 5 years old, older adults and persons with weakened immune systems. It is marked by easy bruising, pallor and decreased urine output. Persons who experience these symptoms should seek emergency medical care immediately

    FSIS is concerned that some product may be in consumers’ freezers. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.

    FSIS advises all consumers to safely prepare their raw meat products, including fresh and frozen, and only consume ground beef that has been cooked to a temperature of 160 F. The only way to confirm that ground beef is cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria is to use a food thermometer that measures internal temperature, https://www.fsis.usda.gov/safetempchart.

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