So far this year, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has issued four public health alerts for ground beef contaminated with E. coli, the highest number since 2012 when it issued five. Generally, USDA FSIS issues a public health alert when a product has tested positive for a pathogen but is no longer for sale. Because meat and poultry can be frozen, these actions are meant to alert consumers and restaurants to check their freezers.
For example, the agency issued a public health alert for the tainted ground beef associated with the HelloFresh E. coli outbreak. On September 10, USDA FSIS issued a public health alert for ground beef that was included in some HelloFresh meal kits. Specifically, the alert was for 10-oz. plastic vacuum-packed packages containing 85 % lean ground beef with codes “EST#46841 L1 22 155” or “EST#46841 L5 22 155” on the side of the packaging.
This alert, which mentioned illnesses associated with HelloFresh meal kits, actually preceded the outbreak announcement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The E. coli O157:H7 outbreak sickened seven people, hospitalizing six of them. Illnesses were reported from June 8, 2022, to August 17, 2022, in the following states: Maryland (1), New Jersey (2), New York (1), Pennsylvania (1), Virginia (1), and Washington (1).
Lakeside Refrigerated Services
The EST code is the establishment code for Lakeside Refrigerated Services of Swedesboro, NJ, the company that produced the ground beef. In addition to being the subject of one of four public health alerts for E. coli in ground beef this year. Lakeside ground beef was also one of two meat producers that issued E. coli recalls this year.
In April 2022, Lakeside issued an E. coli O103 recall ground beef recall that included products sold at Walmart, Weis, Winn Dixie, PriceRite, Fresh Thyme, Earth Fare, and other stores. The ground beef was sold under a variety of brand names including Thomas Farms, SEG Grocers Naturally Better, Weis By Nature, Tajima Kobe Ground Beef, and Marketside Butcher.
Two years ago, Lakeside issued an E. coli O157:H7 recall for ground beef and ground beef patties sold at Food City, Giant Eagle, Lowe’s, Target, Walmart, Grocery Outlet, and Market District stores.
The other three public health alerts for E. coli in ground beef this year were from:
The other recall was from Interstate Meat Dist. Inc. of Clackamas, Ore.
Ground beef E. coli Outbreak
Ground beef is the suspected source of an ongoing E. coli outbreak that has sickened at least three people in Washington. When King County health officials announced this outbreak on November 9, they said state health and agriculture officials were working with USDA FSIS to identify related cases in other counties and begin a traceback investigation to find the source of contamination.
This week, USDA FSIS announced it had opened an E. coli O157:H7 investigation.
Experienced E. coli Lawyers
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