The year 2007 is going to be remembered for the big beef recalls due to E. coli returning with a vengeance. All totaled meat producers were forced to recall over 33.3 million pounds of beef products.

Topping the list was the 21.7 million pound recall due to E. coli that sent the New Jersey-based Topps Foods into bankruptcy. When United Food Group in June was forced to recall 5.7 million pounds of E. coli-laced ground beef, no one would have guessed it was going to lead to a second half of 2007 that found E. coli in beef just like the bad old days.

E. coli forced the recall of 3.3 million pounds of Totino’s and Jeno’s frozen meat pizzas. In two separate recalls, Cargill had to recall over 1.9 million pounds of beef they had contaminated with the deadly E. coli pathogen.

Most of the big recalls of 2007 remain on the active case list of the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The percentage of recalled products actually returned to manufacturers is often pretty low.