A Michigan meatpacker is recalling 1.8 million pounds of ground beef tainted with E. coli.
The tainted beef, traced to Detroit-based Wolverine Packing, has already caused at least 11 cases of foodborne illness in four states, three which required hospitalization, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Through a statement released to the Detroit Free Press, the company claimed that none of its product had tested positive for the strain of E. coli causing the illnesses. But Wolverine Packing nonetheless "felt it was prudent" to issue the recall.
So where's the (bad) beef?
What Beef Is Included in the Recall?
According to a news release issued by the USDA, the products subject to the recall bear the establishment number "EST. 2547B" and have a production code date between "03 31 14" and "04 18 14."
The products included in the recall were shipped to distribution centers nationwide for use in restaurants and for retail sale. The USDA has posted a full list of the products affected by the recall.
A report on the CDC's website says the 11 people infected with the strain of E. coli implicated in the recall (STEC O157:H7) have so far lived in four states: Michigan, Ohio, Massachusett, and Missouri.
How Dangerous Is This Strain of E. coli?
The current recall is listed by the USDA as a Class I recall, defined as "a health hazard situation where there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious adverse health consequences or death."
If you believe you have eaten the recalled beef, the CDC advises you to contact your health care provider and look for signs of STEC infection, such as cramps and bloody diarrhea, which usually manifest between two to eight days after ingesting the bacteria. Although most people recover after about a week, children, the elderly, and even otherwise healthy adults can develop fatal complications including hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious kidney disorder.
If you have questions about the recall, you can contact Wolverine Packing Company at (800) 521-1390 or call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at (888)-674-6954.