Massachusetts health authorities are warning consumers not to eat ground beef bought from Whole Foods Markets over the last two months after seven infections have been linked to meat bought there, some after a national recall.
The state Department of Public Health today confirmed the seventh E. coli case linked to ground beef. The people who fell ill -- five of whom were hospitalized -- had all eaten ground beef from Whole Foods last month. Preliminary results indicate that the ground beef products were part of a nationwide recall of meat produced by Nebraska Beef Ltd. because of possible E. coli contamination.
"A review of records from Whole Foods indicates that some of the stores received product from the recall list," the state said in a release. "At this time, it is not known why the food listed under the USDA recall was sold to the public after the recall date."
In a statement, Whole Foods said it will "continue to work with state and federal authorities as this investigation progresses, and looks forward to providing its customers with the high quality products that they have come to expect."
The products involved include ground beef and ground beef patties from the stores' meat counters as well as packaged meat found in the stores' cooler. Any meat bought between June 2 and August 6 should be thrown out, state officials said. Consumers should also check their freezers for meat they may have bought last month and frozen for later use.
E. coli can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration, and in the most severe cases, kidney failure. The very young, the elderly and persons with weakened immune systems are the most susceptible to foodborne illness.
Ground beef cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit kills the bacteria.
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|White Coat Notes covers the latest from the health care industry, hospitals, doctors offices, labs, insurers, and the corridors of government. Chelsea Conaboy previously covered health care for The Philadelphia Inquirer. Write her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @cconaboy.|
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