As previously reported on this blog, a recall was announced by the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) on December 24, 2009 of 248,000 pounds of beef produced by Oklahoma based National Steak and Poultry. The beef had been mechanically tenderized, making this at least the second time in the past two years that such a product has been implicated in an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak. Several restaurant chains were specifically included in the recall which centered mostly in the West and Mid-West.
As reported in the initial post on this recall, the FSIS had given recall a "class 1" rating, that is at determination that there is a reasonable probability that the use of the products in question will cause “serious, adverse health consequences or death.”
The five chains covered by the beef recall were: Applebee's, Olive Garden (both operated by Darden Restaurants Inc.), Moe’s Southwest Grill, Carino’s Italian and KRM Inc., operator of 15 54th Street Grill & Bar locations. All restaurants took immediate steps to ensure the safety of their customers.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last Tuesday that there have been 21 confirmed cases of E. coli illness in 16 states, including nine that required hospitalization, associated with the recalled beef. Officials indicated that the outbreak may have already spiked.
According to the CDC, the states in which E. coli cases have been confirmed are California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and Washington. Fortunately, by mid-December the worst of the illnesses reported from the recall seemed to be over, according to Arleen Purcell-Pharr, a public affairs specialist for Atlanta-based CDC. She added that no fatalities have been associated with the outbreak.
Companies or consumers who still have questions about the recall may contact National Steak and Poultry at (866) 439-7348.