Back in August, Colorado-based Cargill Meat Solutions announced that it recalled more than 12 tons (25,288 pounds) of ground beef for possible contamination involving the bacteria E. coli. Now, the company is expanding the recall to include an additional 66 tons (123,606 pounds) of ground beef.
Like the products recalled last month, the newly recalled items were manufactured and processed on June 21, 2018, shipped nationwide, and read "EST. 86R" inside the mark of inspection, according to a press release from the United States Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).
The recalled products include varieties of three- and 10-pound chubs of ground beef with "use/freeze by" dates of July 11,2018. For a full list of products affected by the recall, click here.
The original recall occurred when Cargill reviewed its products and realized that some of them may have been contaminated by other products known to be tainted with E. coli.
Since then, 18 people across four states became sick, six required hospitalization, and one person died, according to a September 20 update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Of those illnesses, 15 were reported in Florida, and three more were reported in Colorado, Massachusetts, and Tennessee (one case in each state).
In investigating the outbreak, FSIS was able to identify Cargill ground beef as the most likely root of the illnesses and also confirmed the presence of a particular strain of E. coli in a sample of the recalled beef. Cargill expanded its recall to include more ground beef products as a result of this investigation.
"We were distressed to learn a fatality may be related to an E.coli contamination of one of our products. Our hearts go out to the families and individuals affected by this issue," Cargill said in a statement on its website. "We want to make sure that consumers understand how to identify and safely dispose of any questionable ground beef. All affected product was pulled from supermarket shelves, but consumers may still have it in their freezers, so it is important that they take action to prevent possible illness."
As SELF wrote previously, an E. coli infection can come with some unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhea (often bloody), vomiting, and abdominal cramps.
Symptoms often start between two and eight days after consuming the contaminated food. And, in most cases, otherwise health adults are able to kick the infection with adequate rest and hydration within a week. But, in rare cases, an E. coli infection can lead to a serious complication known as hemolytic uremic syndrome, which is a form of kidney failure that can be deadly.
Luckily, the CDC says the outbreak is officially over as of September 20. But the FSIS says it's still "concerned that some product may be frozen and in consumers’ freezers." So, anyone who purchased the recalled products should not eat them and should throw them away or return them to the place of purchase.