Detroit, MI, United States (4E) – A Detroit-based food packer recalled 1.8 million pounds of ground beef suspected of being contaminated with E. coli bacteria, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).
Wolverine Packing said Monday in a public statement that it made the recall despite finding that not one of its products has tested positive for the pathogen implicated in t least 11 illnesses across Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri and Ohio including three hospitalizations. The illnesses were blamed on E. coli O157:H7 infection.
“The company felt it was prudent to take this voluntary recall action in response to the illnesses and initial outbreak investigation findings,” Wolverine Packing officials said.
The recalled ground beef products were produced from March 31 to April 18 and shipped to distributors for restaurant use in the four mentioned states, the FSIS said. The products have establishment number “EST. 2574B” and will have a production date code in the format “Packing Nos: MM DD 14″ between “03 31 14″ and “04 18 14.”
Meanwhile, people who fell ill from eating contaminated ground beef are expected to recover, according to state health officials.
The USDA and FSIS were alerted of the outbreak last week. The USDA said federal staff will spot-check restaurants to make sure that any meat that could possibly be contaminated is removed so that it won’t be served to consumers.
Symptoms of E. coli infection are abdominal cramps, bloody diarrhea and vomiting. The infection is fatal to young children and the elderly, who have weak immune systems, if not controlled, according to experts.
The bacteria enter the food supply through animal feces, and an infected human who prepares food can then pass it on to others.