The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has closed the week by issuing a food safety alert regarding a surprisingly increasing number of new E. Coli infections linked with ground beef. In total, there have been 177 reported infections across 10 states, so far, dating back to the beginning of March, according to the CDC. Fortunately only 21 people have been hospitalized and zero deaths have been reported.
In its report, the CDC said, on Friday, “Two companies have recalled ground beef products that were sold to restaurants and institutions because they may be contaminated with E. coli 0103. Ill people in this outbreak ate ground beef from many sources. Investigators continue to trace other sources for ground beef, and more product contaminated with E. coli 0103 may be recalled.”
In regards to the issue, two companies have recalled their ground beef products this week because of the potential E. coli contamination, says the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food and Safety Inspection Service. First up is Grant Park Packing, based in Franklin Park, IL. Grant Park has recalled roughly 53,200 pounds of raw ground beef products. Second, we have the Carrollton, GA-based K2D Foods, who recalled more than 113 pounds of raw ground beef products.
The CDC goes on to say “States are investigating additional illnesses that might be a part of this outbreak,” noting that Georgia, Kentucky, and Tennessee have had the most cases. Ohio, Florida, and Virginia were the next three highest affected. Finally, Illinois, Minnesota, Mississippi, and Indiana have also been affected.
While E. coli contamination is nothing new—and is generally not fatal—it is important to know how you can reduce risk for infection. Because E. coli grows naturally in the digestive tract of animals, it is very important, first of all, to keep raw foods away from foods that do not need cooking: like raw fruits and vegetables. Secondly, always wash your hands after handling any food; and always make sure to cook meat products to at least 145° (for steaks and roasts) and up to 160° for ground beef or pork. Finally, make sure that you clean cutting boards, knives, and other utensils between uses; and thoroughly.