A US company is recalling more than 120,000 pounds of ground beef products over fears they may be contaminated with E. coli bacteria, the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) says.
Escherichia coli (E. coli) can cause diarrhea, severe stomach cramps, vomiting and other symptoms and is spread by ingesting food or water contaminated by human or animal waste or through contact with people or animals, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In a notice issued Monday, FSIS said the recall affected approximately 120,872 pounds of raw ground beef product from Lakeside Refrigerated Services – a company in Swedesboro, New Jersey. The beef was carried by brands including Thomas Farms, Nature’s Reserve and Marketside Butcher.
The potentially contaminated products were manufactured from February 1 through April 8 and distributed to retailers throughout the US. Those with labels carry the establishment number “EST. 46841” inside the USDA mark of inspection, the FSIS said.
The service said it was concerned that some affected products could be in people’s refrigerators or 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,” it said.
The O103 strain of the “Shiga toxin-producing E. coli” (STEC) bacteria was found during routine testing and so far there have not been any reports of illness from consumption of the products, according to the FSIS notice.
It said people could become ill two to eight days after consuming products contaminated with STEC. Most people recover within a week but in rare cases could develop a more severe infection. “Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure, is uncommon with STEC O103 infection,” the FSIS said.
The CDC says many strains of E. Coli are harmless and live in the intestines of healthy humans and animals but those that produce Shiga toxin cause disease.
It estimates that there are 265,000 STEC infections each year in the United States.