The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service has called for the urgent withdrawal of the ground beef that may have already reached convenience stores and groceries in the ten states of the country.
Approximately two million pounds of ground beef allegedly contaminated with deadly bacteria known as Escherichia Coli O157:H7 are distributed under various labels but they all come from the Wolverine Packing Co. in Detroit, who was first to give a heads up to the Service and initiated the recall.
It has also urged buyers to return or throw away the meat marked with the code EST.2574B and those which have been manufactured between March 31 and April 18.
Federal officials said this is by far the biggest recall of ground beef tainted with E. coli O157:H7 since 2008. During the early summer of that year, roughly 5.3 million pounds of ground beef from the Nebraska Beef firm were pulled out from the markets and the source.
"While none of the Wolverine Packing product has tested positive for the pathogen implicated in this outbreak, the company felt it was prudent to take this voluntary recall action in response to the illnesses and initial outbreak investigation findings," said Chuck Sanger, a spokesman for Wolverine Packing, in a statement.
At this point, 11 cases of the E. Coli infection have already been reported. As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between the dates April 22 and May 2, five people in Michigan were reported to have been sick from the particular strain of E. Coli bacteria, while four are reported in Ohio. Meanwhile, one case each sprang up in Missouri and Massachusetts.
Among the numerous strains of Escherichia Coli, the O157:H7 is one of the most fatal. Complications may range from severe bleeding diarrhea, abdominal cramps to kidney failure. At the onset of the infection, a little or sometimes no fever is detected at all. In about ten days, the disease should be resolved if proper medication has been administered, according to experts. However, it could be life-threatening for children five years old and below and the elderly as they can acquire a disease called hemolytic uremic syndrome or HUS, wherein blood cells are mutilated and kidneys fails.
So far, the service has named a few such as Gordon Food Service Marketplace stores in the states of Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Wisconsin and Massachusetts, Giorgio's Italian Delicatessen in Florida, M Sixty Six General Store in Michigan and Buchtel Food Mart in Ohio.