Ground Meat Recalled, Over 132,000 Pounds Contaminated With Deadly E. Coli

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) ordered a recall of over 132,000 pounds of ground meat on Wednesday, reports CNN.

The recall affects products sold by Cargill Meat Solutions, with some products sold by Cargill becoming contaminated with E. coli -- a deadly bacteria that can be found in contaminated food or drink.

So far 18 people have fallen ill due to E. coli infection after eating the meat, with one of those 18 dying after consuming the bacteria in the ground beef.

Not all Cargill products are affected by the outbreak -- or the recall by the USDA -- with the contaminated meat all coming from the chuck portion of the cow. All meat sold has a USDA inspection mark on the package it is sold in, particularly employed for this sort of scenario. People with ground chuck from Cargill at home should check the package for a USDA inspection mark that reads "EST. 86R" -- as those are the products affected by this recall.

According to Yahoo Finance, the specific products impacted by the recall are 3, 10 and 20-pound packages of ground beef across the Our Certified, Excel, Sterling Silver, Certified and Fire River Farms brands. The packages of beef all have use or freeze by dates of July 11.

Typically in the event of a recall people can return the affected products to the retailer it was purchased from for a refund or exchange. The meat in question for this recall has been distributed throughout the country.

This is not the first recall to affect Cargill Meat Solutions, with the company being slapped with a recall in August for all ground meat products sold in Publix locations -- a much smaller recall footprint. On that occasion no deaths were reported, but it was the same bacteria, E. coli, that was responsible for the illnesses and the attendant recall.

E. coli symptoms typically begin between one to three days after ingesting the bacteria. During this outbreak patients have presented with symptoms about three or four days after exposure.

Symptoms of exposure to E. coli include diarrhea, vomiting, and fever -- with most people recovering within a week after consuming the contaminated food. Sometimes the bacteria leads to a more serious issue -- hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure -- which occurs in less than 10 percent of cases.

The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service released an announcement calling for the recall, saying that it "is concerned that some product may be frozen and 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."