Winn Meats Co of Dallas, TX, is recalling approximately 25,600 pounds of ground beef products that were improperly labeled and potentially adulterated, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced Friday.

The products’ labels include “For Cooking Only,” indicating that they are intended for further processing to apply a full lethality at a federally inspected establishment.

But because the products were distributed to non-federally inspected establishments, whether sufficient processing occurred to remove potential pathogens cannot be verified, so the products must be removed from commerce, FSIS said.

Each 60-pound box of “Ground Beef for Cooking Only” bears the establishment number “EST. 2338” inside the USDA mark of inspection and can be identified by the case code “506093.” Boxes contain three 20-pound packages of ground beef.

The ground beef products were produced between Aug. 24, 2010 and Nov. 30, 2010. They were sent to a distribution center in Albuquerque, NM, which in turn sent the products to restaurants, central kitchens, and caterers throughout the state.

Investigation of the Outbreak

CDC is collaborating with public health officials in Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to investigate a multistate outbreak of human infections due to E. coli O157:H7. This is a rare strain of E. coli O157:H7 that has never been seen before in the PulseNet database. PulseNet is the national subtyping network made up of state and local public health laboratories and federal food regulatory laboratories that performs molecular surveillance of foodborne infections.

Screen shot 2010-11-24 at 10.53.04 PM.pngThirty-eight persons infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 have been reported from five states. The number of ill persons identified in each state with this strain is as follows: AZ (19), CA (3), CO (11), NM (3) and NV (2). Dates of illness onset range from October 16, 2010 through October 27, 2010. Patients range in age from 1 to 85 years and the median age is 16 years. There have been 15 reported hospitalizations, 1 case of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), and no deaths.

The outbreak can be visually described with a chart showing the number of persons who became ill each day. This chart is called an epidemic curve or epi curve. Illnesses that occurred after November 4, 2010 might not yet be reported due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported. This takes an average of 2 to 3 weeks.

Current Status of the Investigation

Laboratory testing conducted by the New Mexico Department of Health on an unopened (intact) package of Bravo Farms Dutch Style Gouda Cheese purchased from a Costco retail location has identified E. coli O157:H7 matching the outbreak strain. This is the first confirmation from an unopened cheese sample, and is consistent with previous laboratory testing conducted on two opened packages of the Bravo Farms Dutch Style Gouda Cheese purchased at Costco, which also identified E. coli O157:H7 matching the outbreak strain. These opened packages were from two different case patients’ homes. Testing on two additional opened packages from other case patients’ homes is in process.

FDA is continuing to work with its state partners to investigate Bravo Farms and to identify potential sources of contamination. FDA has collected product samples for testing.

Additional investigative activities are ongoing and include:

Conducting surveillance for additional illnesses that could be related to the outbreak.

Gathering and testing food products that are suspected as possible sources of infection to see if they are contaminated with bacteria.

Following epidemiologic leads gathered from interviews with patients, food purchase information, or from patterns of processing, production and/or distribution of suspected products.

Investigating where in the distribution chain the point of contamination could have occurred.

Costco is cooperating and assisting with this ongoing investigation.

Recall Information

On November 23, 2010, Bravo Farms expanded its recall to include all of its cheeses. This action follows laboratory testing by the California Department of Food and Agriculture that reveals the presence of Listeria monocytogenes and E. coli O157:H7 in cheese samples. Bravo Farms sells a variety of cheeses at retail stores throughout the US, mainly on the West coast, including Gouda, Pepper Jack, Tulare Cannonball, and several different styles and flavors of Cheddar cheese. To date, no illnesses associated with L. monocytogenes in Bravo Farm cheese have been reported. For more information, please see the FDA Press Announcement.

Clinical Features/Signs and Symptoms

Most people infected with E. coli O157:H7 develop diarrhea (often bloody) and abdominal cramps 2-8 days (3-4 days, on average) after swallowing the organism, but some illnesses last longer and are more severe. Infection is usually diagnosed by stool sample culture. While most people recover within a week, some develop a severe infection. A type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) can begin as the diarrhea is improving; this can occur among persons of any age but is most common in children under 5 years old and the elderly. Signs and symptoms of HUS may include: fever, abdominal pain, pale skin tone, fatigue and irritability, small, unexplained bruises or bleeding from the nose and mouth, decreased urination and swelling of the face, hands, feet, or entire body. Persons who experience these symptoms and believe they are at risk for HUS should seek emergency medical care immediatel

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker today alerted consumers that Hamilton Corner Meat Market Inc., located at 1 Hamilton Place, New York, New York, is recalling all packages of in-store “ground beef” sold on November 15, 2010, due to the presence of Escherichia coli O157:H7. E. coli O157:H7 causes a diarrheal illness often with bloody stools. Although most healthy adults can recover completely within a week, some people can develop a form of kidney failure called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS). HUS is most likely to occur in young children and the elderly. The condition can lead to serious kidney damage and even death.

The recalled in-store “ground beef” was sold per order from the meat department and is uncoded. The product was sold at retail only from this store’s location at 1 Hamilton Place, New York, New York.

No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this problem.

The contamination was discovered after sampling by New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets food inspectors and subsequent analysis by Food Laboratory personnel revealed the presence of E. coli O157:H7 in samples of in-store “ground beef.” Sales of the “ground beef” have been suspended.

A recall of Mauri brand Gorgonzola cheese sold by Costco Wholesale Stores in Colorado because of potentially deadly E. coli bacteria, has been expanded to include additional packages, according to the products distributor.

A statement Friday by DPI Specialty Foods of Tualatin, Ore., says the recalled cheese covers clear plastic packages of 1-pound wedges with sell-by dates of Jan. 2 through Jan 27.

The recall announced on Nov. 10, limited the questionable packages to those with sell-by dates of Jan. 13-14. The packages carry a white sticker that reads: “Distributed by DPI Specialty Foods Tualatin, Ore., ITALY 34449.”

The distributor says that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not received any reports of illnesses and that testing will indicate whether this bacterial strain is linked to illnesses.

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker today alerted consumers that Hamilton Corner Meat Market Inc., located at 1 Hamilton Place, New York, New York, is recalling all packages of in-store ground beef, in-store sliced deli turkey and in-store sliced deli ham sold on September 29, 2010, due to the presence of E. coli O157:H7.

The recalled products that include in-store ground beef, in-store sliced deli turkey and in-store sliced deli ham were all sold per order from the meat department and were coded with the date of purchase. The product was sold at retail only from the store’s only location at 1 Hamilton Place, New York, New York.

The contamination was discovered after follow-up sampling by New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets’ food inspectors and subsequent analysis by the New York State Food Laboratory personnel revealed the presence of E. coli O157:H7 in samples of the in-store ground beef, in-store sliced deli turkey and in-store sliced deli ham. As a result of the lab findings, food inspectors today seized and destroyed all non-prepackaged products in the meat case. The store voluntarily closed the deli and meat processing sections of the store.

Valley Meat Company, a Modesto, Calif. establishment, is recalling approximately one million pounds of frozen ground beef patties and bulk ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced this morning.

The products subject to recall bear the establishment number "EST. 8268" inside the USDA mark of inspection as well as a production code of 25709 through 01210. These products were produced between the dates of Oct. 2, 2009 through Jan. 12, 2010 and were distributed to retail outlets and institutional foodservice providers in California, Texas, Oregon, Arizona and internationally.

FSIS became aware of the problem on July 15 when the agency was notified by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) of a small E. coli O157:H7 cluster of illnesses with a rare strain as determined by PFGE subtyping. A total of six patients with illness onset dates between April 8 and June 18, 2010 were reported at that time. After further review, CDPH added another patient from February to the case count, bringing the count to seven. FSIS is continuing to work with the CDPH and the company on the investigation. Anyone with signs or symptoms of foodborne illness should contact a health care provider.

Irwindale-based Ready Pac Food Inc. on Wednesday announced a voluntary recall of 702 cases of its baby spinach because of possible E. coli bacteria contamination.

The recalled six-ounce "Spinach Temptations" packages sold in California, Washington and Arizona have use-by dates of:

July 4 with Product Code I1707B, IR127121
July 8 with Product Code I2007B, IR130373

No illnesses related to the products have been reported.

The spinach could be contaminated by Escherichia coli O157:H7, according to ReadyPac, which is working with the Food and Drug Administration to investigate the problem detected in random testing.

South Gate Meat Co., a South Gate, Calif., establishment, is recalling approximately 35,000 pounds of ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

The products subject to recall include:

20-, 30- and 40-pound bulk packages of "SOUTH GATE MEAT CO. GROUND BEEF."
30-, 40-, and 50-pound bulk packages of "SOUTH GATE MEAT CO. COARSE GROUND BEEF."
10- and 20-pound packages of "SOUTH GATE MEAT CO. GROUND BEEF PATTIES."

Each package bears establishment number "EST. 6217" inside the USDA mark of inspection. These ground beef products were produced between the dates of June 7, 2010, through June 21, 2010, and were shipped to restaurants in the Los Angeles and Orange County, Calif. area.

Crown I Enterprises, Inc., a Bay Shore, N.Y., establishment, is recalling approximately 3,700 pounds of ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

The products subject to recall include:

• 24, 8-ounce burgers in 12-pound boxes of "W.B. STOCKYARD, KEEP REFRIGERATED, BURGER FRESH, WB HOME STYLE 8 OZ."
• 32, 6-ounce burgers in 12-pound boxes of "W.B. STOCKYARD, KEEP REFRIGERATED, BURGER FRESH 6 OZ."
• 48, 4-ounce burgers in 12-pound boxes of "W.B. STOCKYARD, KEEP REFRIGERATED, BURGER FRESH, 4 OZ."
• 10-pound boxes of "W.B. STOCKYARD, KEEP REFRIGERATED, BEEF GROUND/EXTRA LEAN."
• 10- and 20-pound boxes of "W.B. STOCKYARD, KEEP REFRIGERATED, BEEF GROUND 80/20."

Each package bears establishment number "EST. 20889" inside the USDA mark of inspection as well the Julian dates of "10164" and "10166." These ground beef products were produced on June 11, 2010, and June 15, 2010, and were shipped to food service institutions in Conn., N.J., and N.Y.