The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service Saturday announced a recall of more than 345,000 pounds of ground beef that may be contaminated with potentially deadly E. coli bacteria.
The meat was distributed this month to wholesalers in Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
The suspect meat was packaged on July 11 by the Moyer Packing Company of Souderton, Penn.
| What Is E. coli?|
|E. coli or Escherichia coli is a bacteria found in the digestive tracts of most humans and many animals, and often is harmless or even beneficial.|
But harmful strains of the bacteria affect 73,000 and kill 61 Americans every year.
Different strains of E. coli have various effects. Some people get only mildly ill. Others get bloody diarrhea, and some suffer kidney failure and hemolytic uremic syndrome, which can be fatal.
You can get E. coli from eating undercooked, contaminated ground beef; drinking raw milk; swimming in or drinking contaminated water; or having contact with feces.
Infection can be avoided by thoroughly cooking ground beef, avoiding unpasteurized milk, and washing hands carefully.
For more information, check out E.coli information from CBS HealthWatch or the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
(Source: CDC, CBS HealthWatch)size>
It was originally packaged in 5- and 10-pound packages shipped in 20- to 60-pound cartons.
The boxes were marked with the establishment's identification number (1311) and the production date.
The USDA said the "Product involved in the recall may have been reground and repackaged at the retail level."
"Because of the potential for foodborne illness, we want consumers to be aware of the recall," said the USDA's Margaret O'K. Glavin in a statement. "Purchasers of ground beef may wish o ask retailers if ground beef at their stores was produced with any of the recalled product."
E. coli can be fatal in people with weakened immune systems.
The possible contamination was discovered through microbiological sampling.
Concerned consumers can call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-800-535-4555 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available at that number 24 hours a day.