Beef Recall: Two Deaths Might Be Associated with E.Coli

Two died and 26 others became ill after apparently eating ground beef that might have been contaminated with E. coli bacteria, The Associated Press reported.

A spokeswoman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told the AP that one person who died, an adult from New York, had several underlying health conditions.

The other previously reported death was in New Hampshire.

Health officials said Saturday the products were packaged between Sept. 15-16 and may have been labeled with sell-by dates from Sept. 19-28, according to The Associated Press.

VIDEO: E. Coli outbreak in ground beef.
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The contaminated meat may be related to the recall of almost 546,000 pounds of ground beef in Connecticut, Maine and Massachusetts. That meat was sold by Fairbank Farms in Ashville, N.Y.

"Fairbank Farms is committed to providing the most up-to-date information. The company and its customers are taking all precautions necessary to ensure consumer safety and welfare," Ron Allen, CEO of Fairbank Farms, said in a statement on its Web site. "We're assisting our customers in conducting this recall, and continue to urge consumers to check their freezers for ground beef products that are listed in the recall. Consumers who identify these products should return them to the point of purchase for a full refund."

To identify recalled products, consumers should check the package label and look for the product name, package weight and sell-by date. All labels will show an establishment number of "EST 492" inside the U.S. Department of Agriculture mark of inspection.

Recalled products include ground beef sold under various labels at B.J.'s Wholesale Club/Burris, Trader Joe's, ACME, Shaw's Supermarkets Inc., Price Chopper, Giant Food Stores and Ford Brothers.

The products were sold in Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Check the Meat in Your Freezer

Dr. Richard Besser, who appeared on "Good Morning America" to explain the recall, said it is important to check all of the meat in your freezer, because freezing meat will not kill the bacteria.

If you find any meat involved in the recall, Besser said it is better to be safe than sorry.

"Throw it away," Besser said.

For additional information about the recall, call Fairbank Farms' toll-free hotline at 877-546-0122 or visit its Web site at www.fairbankfarms.com or visit the USDA's Web site.

Despite every meat processing plant having someone from the USDA assigned to it, the plant does not need to report an outbreak of E. coli, Besser said. The USDA can ask at any time to see the plant's records, however.

Besser explained that the plant could cook the tainted meat and include it in another product.

"That bothers me," Besser said.

In recent years, recalls of food items due to E. coli contamination have included spinach, beef and salad mixes.

Symptoms of E. coli infection include diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Severe cases can lead to kidney failure and death.

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