According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc. has just recalled approximately 131,300 pounds of ground beef as a result of E. coli infection.
E. coli is a bacteria that is commonly found in the lower intestine of warm-blooded animals. Although most E. coli strains are harmless and are actually beneficial, some types have been known to cause serious food poisoning in humans. When virulent strains of the bacteria do take hold in humans, the bacteria can cause gastroenteritis, urinary tract infections, and neonatal meningitis. In rarer cases, virulent strains are also responsible for more serious diseases such as hemolytic-uremic syndrome, peritonitis, mastitis, septicemia and pneumonia.
The USDA has said that the infected meat was produced at Tyson’s Emporia Kansas plant on August 23, and the recall includes beef sold as Kroger brands at Kroger Co. supermarkets; Butcher’s Beef at Food Lion supermarkets; and generic beef sold to SAV-A-LOT, Spectrum Foods, Supervalu and the Defense Commissary Agency, as well as beef sold under Tyson’s regular branding. The beef, all 73/27 lean to fat ratio, had a “best before” date of Sept. 12 and the number 245D printed on the packages.
According to a spokesperson on behalf of Tyson’s Fresh Meat, the meat was sold in pre-packaged printed tubes that are put directly into retail grocery store’s meat cases. He also said that it is likely that most of the affected product has either been taken off the shelves or consumed, but consumers are urged to check their freezers and return or discard any beef listed in the recall.
To date, four Ohio children have suffered E. coli associated illnesses after eating the meat with their family, and a nine year-old child was hospitalized for about 10 days with severe diarrhea. No other cases have been reported in the Ohio county, but Tyson Fresh Meats is based in South Dakota, and is a subsidiary of Tyson Foods Inc., of Springdale, Arkansas; this means that the contaminated meat has the potential to be anywhere in the United States.
The Ohio Department of Health confirmed that the children were sick as a result of E.coli, and testing revealed that the meat – purchased from a Kroger supermarket – was in fact contaminated. The meat production and distribution corporation is liable for the illnesses caused by the infected food, and may be required to answer to a personal injury lawsuit.
According to a 2010 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year approximately 48 million people suffer illness from food poisoning; of those, over 125,000 people require hospitalization and 3,000 die after consuming contaminated foods.
Foodborne illnesses may lead to serious personal injury, hospitalization, or even death due to food poisoning. Victims, and families of deceased victims may be able to seek compensation from the food production and distribution companies for damages resulting from the food poisoning. Our Illinois food poisoning lawyers have experience representing clients in similar cases, including a $4 million Illinois personal injury settlement for three convention attendees who contracted salmonella poisoning that caused them to suffer crippling arthritic injuries. If you or a loved one have suffered injury from a foodborne illness, an attorney will be able to advise you of your rights.