A Detroit-based business is recalling about 1.8 million pounds of ground-beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, according to health officials.
The ground-beef products were produced between March 31 and April 18, and shipped to distributors for restaurant use throughout Michigan and into Ohio, Massachusetts and Missouri, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.
Officials with Wolverine Packing Co. in Detroit, the company that issued the recall, were not immediately available for comment.
Eleven people were sickened in the four states and at least three were hospitalized, although all were expected to fully recover, state health officials have said.
Federal officials were alerted May 12 and have been working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health officials.
Because the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development doesn’t do meat inspection or investigations, the case has been turned over to federal health officials, said Jennifer Holton, MDARD spokeswoman.
She said restaurants that may have served the tainted meat are expected to destroy the meat or contact the distributor for return.
The products subject to recall bear the 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.”
“It’s hopeful that we won’t see any more cases,” Horton said.
E. coli can be miserable, causing severe abdominal cramps, bloody diarrhea and vomiting, but it’s usually not fatal.
Most people recover from E. coli O157 in five to seven days. In the three-year period ending last year (2011-2013), 689 cases of E. coli sickness – including outbreaks traced to raw clover sprouts and frozen foods – were reported to the Michigan Department of Community Health.
Still, the bacteria can be life-threatening, especially for elderly people, infants and those with weak immune systems. Public health officials used the incident to remind consumers to cook ground beef to an internal temperature of 160° Fahrenheit.