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Beef Recalled Over E. Coli Concerns

National Beef recall E. coli O157:H7

Upwards of 22,737 pounds of beef products are being recalled due to a potential presence of harmful E. coli bacteria, specifically E. coli O157:H7, according to an earlier report made by The Inquisitr.

Escherichia coli (abbreviated E. coli) is a bacterium that is commonly found in the lower intestine of warm-blooded organisms. Pathogenic strains of the bacterium can cause disease and are responsible for product recalls due to contamination. Most E. coli strains are harmless, but some serotypes are linked to serious food poisoning.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that E. coli affects 73,000 people in the US each year, causing 2,000 hospitalizations and nearly 60 deaths.

Virulent strains of E. coli can cause gastroenteritis, urinary tract infections, and provoke lingering symptoms of abdominal cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea. Children and the elderly are at greatest risk for complications resulting from E. coli infections.

The most commonly identified STEC (Shiga-like toxin producing E. coli) in North America is E. coli O157:H7 – often shortened to E. coli O157 or just O157. When you hear news reports about outbreaks of E. coli infections, they are usually talking about E. coli O157.

E. coli O157:H7 causes food-borne illnesses and was first recognized as part of an enteric disease outbreak in 1982, following an epidemic of severe, acute hemorrhagic diarrhea later traced to contaminated hamburgers.

Infection follows ingestion of tainted food or water or oral contact with polluted surfaces. A main source of infection is undercooked ground beef; other sources include consumption of unpasteurized milk and juice and contact with infected live animals.

Waterborne transmission occurs through swimming in contaminated lakes, pools, or inadequately treated drinking water. The organism is easily transmitted from person to person.

While uncommon, E. coli O157:H7 can naturally be found in the intestinal contents of seemingly healthy cattle. However, cattle lacking the shiga-toxin receptor (globotriaosylceramide) can be asymptomatic carriers of the bacterium. The toxin requires highly specific receptors on the cells’ surface in order to attach and enter the cell. Cattle, swine, and deer which do not carry these receptors may harbor toxigenic bacteria without any ill effect, shedding them in their feces.

Carcasses and hides can become contaminated during slaughter and butchering.

The potentially contaminated meat affected by the beef recall was produced on May 25, 2013 and bears a use/sell date of June 14, 2013. Products originated from National Beef Packing Co. in Liberal, Kansas. The following items are included in the beef recall:

10 pound packages of “National Beef” 80/20 Coarse Ground Chuck, package code “0481”

10 pound packages of “National Beef” 81/19 Coarse Ground Beef, package code “0421”

10 pound packages of “National Beef” 80/20 Fine Ground Chuck, package code “0484”

Consumers with questions about the beef recall can call the company at 1-877-857-4143 or visit the National Beef website.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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