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Thursday, August 01, 2013

Beef Recall & Food Handling Safety

For the second day in a row our concern turns to food safety. The USDA announced Wednesday the recall of 50,000 pounds of ground beef due to possible E. coli contamination. Here is the report from USA Today:

From USA Today:
Kansas firm recalls 50,000 pounds of raw ground beef

A Kansas company has recalled approximately 50,000 pounds of ground beef that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday.

No illnesses have been reported linked to the consumption of the meat, which was produced by National Beef Packing Company of Liberal, Kan.

The beef was sold in 40 to 60 pound cases to retailers, wholesalers, and food service distributors nationwide, USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service said in a release. The product carries the establishment number "EST. 208A" Inside the USDA mark of inspection.

Where the meat was sold at the retail and wholesale level is unknown.

E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacteria that can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration, and in severe cases, kidney failure. It is considered an adulterant in raw beef.

National Beef recalled 22,737 pounds of raw ground beef on June 18, also due to possible contamination with E. coli O157:H7.

Safe Handling of Beef 4 Page Bulletin
A scare like this is always a good time to brush-up on our food handling skills. Clemson University Cooperative Extension has prepared a comprehensive bulletin on meat handling safety. Print the downloadable PDF bulletin to include in your Kitchen 411 Binder. This brief section on ground beef is taken from that publication:

Ground Beef: Ground beef must be cooked thoroughly to kill harmful bacteria. Unlike whole muscle meat, whose interior meat is sterile, the grinding process exposes the interior meat in ground beef to bacteria, which may be on the surface, in the air, on equipment or on people's hands. To kill these bacteria, food safety experts have one major rule of thumb—cook ground beef (including hamburgers and ground beef mixtures such as meat loaf) to at least 155 °F. This step, while very simple, offers the best protection that consumers can have for serving ground beef products safely.

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