Greater Omaha Packing is recalling more than 295,000 pounds of raw beef due to possible contamination with E. coli bacteria.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) dubbed the announcement a “Class I” recall. That means it believes there is a significant health risk. In fact, the agency cited “a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death,” USA Today reports.
According to the USDA, there have not yet been confirmed reports of adverse reactions from consumption of the beef. Evidence of E. coli contamination showed up during a “routine product sample” by the USDA, it said.
Multiple Cuts of Beef Included in Recall
Greater Omaha produced the beef that’s being recalled on July 13, according to the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. The products in question have an establishment number “EST. 960A” within the USDA mark of inspection.
The beef then went out to further processors in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and Nebraska, the USDA said.
The cuts of beef listed in the recall include angus boneless shank, chuck and brisket.
The USDA warns all meat eaters to safely prepare their fresh and frozen raw meat products. One should only eat beef products that have been cooked at or above a temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit (and left to rest at least 3 minutes). And one should only eat ground meat products that have been cooked at or above a temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
The agency also has a hotline for meat and poultry questions: 1-888-674-6854.
E. Coli Consumption Can Bring Severe Consequences
E. coli shows up in fecal matter. It is especially dangerous to babies, young children and the elderly. It’s also hazardous to people of any age with compromised immune systems. But it can damage anyone’s small intestine.
Signs of infection usually appear two to eight days after consuming E. coli-tainted products. The resulting symptoms commonly include dehydration, bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps. In some cases, victims may suffer kidney failure.
E. coli infection often requires a lab test or imaging to diagnose. So anyone concerned about possible exposure to the bacteria should see a doctor.
The products involved in the recall may have been contaminated with the E. coli strain O157:H7. Some strains of E. coli are harmless. But that particular strain causes the painful symptoms listed above. According to the Mayo Clinic, that strain produces a strong toxin that harms the lining of the small intestine.
Unfortunately, it only takes a small amount of E. coli to cause an infection. So even slightly undercooked contaminated beef poses a risk, the Mayo Clinic says.