WASHINGTON – An investigation into seven E. coli O157:H7 illnesses revealed a link between beef produced by Adams Farm Slaughterhouse LLC, Athol, Massachusetts and the illness cluster, the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the US Dept. of Agriculture reported. The company later launched a recall of beef, veal and bison products on concerns of E. coli contamination.

FSIS was notified of the investigation on Sept. 16. The agency, working with public health departments in Massachusetts and Connecticut, and the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found a link between beef from Adams Farm and the illnesses. FSIS said seven confirmed E. coli illnesses were identified in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Traceback information was available for five case-patients, and all five individuals consumed beef supplied by Adams Farm Slaughterhouse. Illness onset dates ranged from June 27 to Sept. 4, FSIS said.

The raw intact and non-intact beef products originated from animals slaughtered on July 15, 25, and 27, and Aug. 3, 8, 10, 11, 17, 24 and 26 and further processed and packed on various dates between July 21, and Sept. 22. FSIS and the company are concerned that some product may be frozen and in consumers’ freezers. The items were shipped to farmers markets, retail stores and restaurants in Massachusetts, Connecticut and eastern New York. The products also may have been shipped to neighboring states in the immediate area, FSIS said.

Symptoms of E. coli O157:H7 illness can include dehydrations, bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps two to eight days after exposure to the bacteria. Most people recover within a week, but other individuals can develop hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which is a type of kidney failure.

A list of affected products and lot numbers can be found on the FSIS website.