Beef Recall in effect from the CDC | 2 Die from E. Coli

2 dead from tainted beef in New England

Image by flickr

Image by flickr

The Center for Disease Control has issued warnings for people on the Eastern seaboard to watch out for a large shipment of recalled beef, as up to over a half a million pounds of ground beef have been found to be contaminated with E. coli.  The infected beef was produced and shipped by Fairbanks Farms, of Ashville, New York.  The company has issued a recall of almost 546,000 pounds of fresh ground beef; a recall this large costs more than a personal loan or two.

Up to 28 people may have been made ill

As of today, up to 28 people may have been sickened from eating said contaminated beef.  16 have been hospitalized and so far, 2 have died.  Both fatalities had underlying conditions and complications which were instrumental in their passing.  18 of the suspected infections are in New England, and all but 3 are in the Northeast.  The beef was distributed in Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.  It was sold in Trader Joe’s, Lancaster, Wild Harvest, Shaw’s, BJ’s, Ford Brothers and Giant stores.  Consumers living in the Northeast are cautioned to find any packages bearing the label “EST. 492.” It won’t be sold as fresh any more, as the expiration dates were listed as at the end of September.  Here is a link to a  full list of products that contained the contaminated product.

E. Coli is a nasty bug – a paradoxical bacteria

E. Coli, or under the full title, Escherichia coli, is a common bacteria, and it’s one you already have – it’s kind of necessary.  It’s one of the bacteria that lives in the human digestive tract, and you probably wouldn’t survive long without it.  However, the strain that is endemic to humans isn’t the one endemic to cows.  The bovine strain is toxic to humans, and uncooked or contaminated beef can cause havoc.  The most common form that people get sick from is O157:H7 E. Coli (from Wikipedia) called the “hamburger” bacteria, as that’s the common source of infection.  It can cause anything from gastroenteritis (the “stomach flu”) to bloody diarrhea, in severe cases, kidney failure and in 2 to 7% of cases, haemolytic uremic syndrome, which can lead to kidney failure.  The very young, very old, and the immune-compromised are more susceptible to this complication – as they are more susceptible to other diseases like influenza. E.coli can be acquired from meat, unpasteurized milk, swimming in contaminated water, or eating contaminated uncooked vegetables  (it gets into the environment from the business end of a cow).

Typically, it resolves itself within a few days for most people.  However, there are about 2,000 people hospitalized with it annually, and HUS complications from E.coli infections are responsible for about 60 deaths per year.

Those living in NE might want to check their freezer

People living in New England might be susceptible, so it’s suggested you check your freezer if you think you’re at risk.  A hospital stay will cost you more than a cash advance worth, that’s for sure.

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