Scratch Nebraska Beef from your July 4th menu. The notorious Omaha slaughterhouse today expanded its June 30th recall to FIVE POINT THREE MILLION POUNDS!

The recall now includes all beef trimmings and other products intended for use in raw ground beef processed between May 16 and June 26, 2008.

Originally, the Nebraska Beef recall was for a little over a half million pounds. But the raging E. coli outbreak in Ohio and Michigan has been laid at Nebraska Beef’s doorstep. The ongoing epidemiological and tracebacks investigations led to expansion of the recall to FIVE POINT THREE MILLION POUNDS.

And note this statement from the federal Food Safety & Inspection Service (FSIS):

FSIS has concluded that the production practices employed by Nebraska Beef, Ltd. are insufficient to effectively control E. coli O157:H7 in their beef products that are intended for grinding. The products subject to recall may have been produced under insanitary conditions.

As a main beef supplier to the near 2,500 store Kroger chain, Nebraska Beef’s potentially deadly hamburger is now spread across at least 31 states where the Ohio-based retailer has oulets.  It operates under two dozen local banners including Kroger, Ralphs, Fred Meyer, Food 4 Less, Fry’s, King Soopers, Smith’s, Dillons, QFC and City Market.

Also according to FSIS:

The epidemiological investigations and a case control study conducted by the Michigan and Ohio Departments of Agriculture and Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined that there is an association between the ground beef products and 40 illnesses reported in Michigan (21) and Ohio (19).

The illnesses were linked through the epidemiological investigation and by their PFGE pattern, or DNA fingerprint, found in PulseNet, a database maintained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.