E. Coli Concern: Once-Tainted Meat Allowed Back Into System

According to the CDC, as of Tuesday evening, a total of 26 people from 11 states had been sickened. The states affected include California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont. Sixteen patients are reported to have been hospitalized, and two deaths have been reported.

How Consumers Can Protect Themselves From E. Coli

While the current outbreak may have many wary of ground beef now on shelves, Schafer pointed out that none of the beef associated with the recall would still be on the shelf at this time.

"The recalled products have passed their expiration dates by 23 to 32 days," she said. "If [the product] does exist, it would be in your freezer."

She added that at least on Fairbank Farms' side, any tainted meat that is found is not processed and repackaged. "It gets thrown away; it gets disposed of."

And despite the fact that contaminated meat is completely safe if cooked properly, Breite said that anyone who suspects that they may have tainted meat in their home has really only one completely safe option.

"You toss it," he said. "You toss it immediately."

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.

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