Local News

Beef Recalled After 2 Local Children Infected With E. Coli

Posted October 10, 2007 1:42 p.m. EDT
Updated October 10, 2007 10:42 p.m. EDT

— North Carolina public health officials are asking residents to make sure they don’t have any contaminated beef after two children were infected with E. coli.

The state Division of Public Health's laboratory has confirmed that the children were infected with E. coli O15:H7 bacterium that had the same DNA fingerprint as E. coli infections that have been linked to ground-beef patties manufactured by Cargill Meat Solutions Corp. and sold through Sam's Club.

"You go to your freezer right now and look, and if you've got ground beef patties in there, and if you remember buying some from Sam's Club – Sam's Club anywhere in the state – check and make sure they are not part of this recall," Debbie Crane, with the state Department of Health and Human Services, said. "If they are part of the recall, throw them away."

The two children, a 10-year-old from Durham County and a 14-year-old from Orange County, attended a cookout on Sept. 15.

Food served at the cookout included grilled hamburgers. The children experienced bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps beginning on Sept. 18, officials said.

Neither child developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which is a serious complication that can result from E. coli 0157:H7 infection. Both children have recovered. No other cases of E .coli infection associated with the picnic have been diagnosed.

“If you have frozen ground beef patties, check to see if they are part of the recall. If they are, then throw them away or return them to the store,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Jeff Engel. “Anytime you cook hamburger, always make sure to cook it until it is no longer pink and the juice runs clear.”

Although no ground beef from the cookout was available for testing, people who bought the meat said they had purchased it from the Durham Sam’s Club on Sept. 14.

The Orange County Health Department investigated the incident. Public health officials noted that the onset of symptoms occurs within two to 10 days after E. coli infection, with most cases showing up within three to five days. No new cases are expected as a result of the ground beef consumed at the cookout.

In addition to checking to see whether consumers have the contaminated product, public health officials said consumers should take precautions to avoid contaminating other foods with any E. coli bacteria that may be present in the meat by:

  • Using soap or dishwashing liquid to wash hands, utensils and cutting boards after they have been in contact with raw meat before they touch other food
     
  • Putting cooked meat on a clean platter, rather than on the one that was used to hold raw meat

On Oct. 6, Cargill recalled 844,812 pounds of frozen ground beef patties after an investigation by Minnesota authorities. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) found that four illness were caused by E. coli O157:H7 with the same DNA fingerprint.

All of those infected had eaten ground beef patties purchased at Sam’s Club stores in the Twin Cities metro area. The brand name of the implicated frozen ground beef patties was “American Chef’s Selection Angus Beef Patties.”

Sam’s Club has pulled American Chef’s Selection Angus Frozen Ground Beef Patties from all of their stores.

The products subject to the recall were produced on Aug. 9, 10, 15, 16 and 17, 2007, and were distributed nationwide. Each package bears the establishment number “Est. 924A” inside the USDA mark of inspection.

The products include:

Products distributed via retail and subject to recall are:

  • 6-pound boxes of “American Chef's Selection Angus Beef Patties 18-1/3 Pound Patties.” Each package bears a case code of “7703100” and various package codes of Best If Used By dates of “02/05/08,” “02/06/08,” “02/12/08,” and “02/13/08.”

Products distributed to restaurants and institutions and subject to recall include:

  • 20-pound boxes of “Grille Works Seasoned Sirloin Steak Beef Patties.” Each package bears a case code of “7700296” and a package code “packed/chilled by 08/15/07.”
     
  • 20-pound boxes of “TNT™ Thick ‘n Tender Beef Patties with Seasoning.” Each package bears a case code of “7703003” and a package code “packed/chilled by 08/15/07.”
     
  • 20-pound boxes of “TNT Thick ‘n Tender Beef Patties with Seasoning.” Each package bears a case code of “7703008” and a package code “packed/chilled by 08/15/07.”
     
  • 10-pound boxes of “TNT Thick ‘n Tender Beef Patties with Seasoning.” Each package bears a case code of “7703092” and a package code “packed/chilled by 08/15/07.”
     
  • 20-pound boxes of “TNT Thick ‘n Tender Black Angus Beef Patties with Seasoning.” Each package bears a case code of “7703132” and a package code “packed/chilled by 08/15/07.”
     
  • 20-pound boxes of “TNT Thick ‘n Tender Black Angus Beef Patties with Seasoning.” Each package bears a case code of “7703133” and a package code “packed/chilled by 08/15/07.”
     
  • 10-pound boxes of “TNT Thick ‘n Tender Black Angus Beef Patties with Seasoning.” Each package bears a case code of “7703139” and a package code “packed/chilled by 08/15/07.”
     
  • 20-pound boxes of “TNT Thick ‘n Tender Black Angus Ground Beef Patties.” Each package bears a case code of “7700922” and a package code “packed/chilled by 08/15/07.”
     
  • 32.4-pound boxes of “100% Black Angus Ground Beef Patties.” Each package bears a case code of “7700932” and a package code “packed/chilled by 08/15/07.”
     
  • 36.0-pound boxes of “100% Black Angus Ground Beef Patties.” Each package bears a case code of “7700983” and a package code “packed/chilled by 08/15/07.”

Symptoms of E. coli O157:H7 illness include stomach cramps, which can be severe, and diarrhea. Diarrhea begins as loose, watery stools, with stools often turning bloody within 1-3 days.E. coli O157:H7 disease sometimes leads to HUS, which can include kidney failure.

People typically become ill two to five days after eating contaminated food. E. coli infection should not be treated with antibiotics, which can cause additional complications. People who have developed those symptoms after consuming this product should contact their physician.

Consumers with questions about the recall should contact the company’s food safety line at 866-567-7899.