FSIS includes more beef products in health alert

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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WASHINGTON – Whole muscle beef cuts produced on the same production dates as the beef affected by a recall in Canada were used by a US facility to make other products, according to the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

The agency has evidence that whole muscle cuts were being used to produce ground beef, and product from these cuts are considered adulterated unless they are treated with an intervention capable of eliminating E. coli O157:H7. The agency also found that beef short ribs were trimmed in order for the trim to be used to make ground beef.

Edmonton, Alberta-based XL Foods voluntarily recalled a variety of ground beef products on concerns that they may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. FSIS said the agency believes that beef from cattle slaughtered during the period associated with the recall was produced under unsanitary conditions. Those conditions resulted in a period when trim from the carcasses exhibited an unusually high frequency of positive tests for E. coli O157:H7.

FSIS concluded from its investigation that all non-intact products, such as trim and ground beef subject to the recall, and all cuts of beef intended to for processing into non-intact product, are considered adulterated.

An investigation by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency revealed that a combination of several “deficiencies” in the food safety controls at an XL Foods facility could have led to positive E. coli O157:H7 findings.

Meanwhile, Safeway expanded a recall of ground beef products, and Albertsons announced its first recall of affected products.

Pleasanton, Calif. - based Safeway said product subject to the expanded recall was distributed in Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. The grocery retailer included all fresh ground beef sold from the self-service meat cooler and the full-service meat counter with Sell By dates of 08-28-12 to 09-23-12. Affected items included, but were not limited to, meatballs, sliders and gourmet burgers.

Albertsons, Boise, Idaho, voluntarily recalled a variety of ground beef products sold in Washington and Oregon in addition to three stores in Northern Idaho — Coeur D’Alene, Hayden and Lewiston.

All raw ground beef products through Albertsons’ full service counters and store-packaged ground beef products sold from 9/3/12 through 9/21/12 are subject to the recall. Other affected items included:

• Fresh Ground Beef Patties 80/20, 1 lb., UPC: 7-52907-60030, USE BY Date: 9/11/12;
• Fresh Ground Beef Chub 73/27, 1 lb., UPC: 7-52907-18271, USE BY Date: 9/18/12 & 9/21/12; and
• Fresh Ground Beef Chub 73/27, 3 lb., UPC: 7-52907-18251, USE BY Date: 9/18/12 & 9/21/12.

Albertsons is part of the SUPERVALU grocery chain.

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