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    More Than 21 Million Pounds of Frozen Hamburgers Recalled by Topps Meat Co.

    Oct. 1, 2007 -- For the second time in a week, health officials are urging consumers to check their freezers for recalled frozen ground beef products from Topps Meat Co.

    Topps on Saturday expanded its Sept. 25 ground beef recall. The Topps recall now includes 21.7 million pounds of frozen hamburgers and patties that may be contaminated with E. coli 0157:H7 bacteria.

    E. coli bacteria can cause abdominal cramps and diarrhea, which may be bloody. While most people recover without treatment within a week, some may have life-threatening complications. The young, old, and ill are particularly at risk for serious complications from E. coli infection.

    Currently, health officials are investigating 25 illnesses in Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

    An investigation by the New York Department of Health and the CDC preceded Topps' Sept. 25 ground beef recall.

    According to the USDA, the Topps ground beef recall was expanded based on additional tests, reported illnesses, and findings from a government food safety assessment.

    (With so many recalls lately, have you stopped eating certain types of foods? Tell us about your fears on WebMD's Health Café message board.)

    Ground Beef Recall: What to Do

    The expanded recall includes all Topps products with a "sell by date" or "best if used by date" that falls between Sept. 25, 2007, and Sept. 25, 2008. This information may be found on the back panel of the package.

    All recalled Topps products have a USDA establishment number of EST 9748, which is located on the back panel of the package and/or in the USDA legend.

    "It is important that consumers look for the recalled products and return them if found in their freezers," states the USDA in a news release.

    The recalled products were produced on various dates between Sept. 25, 2006, and Sept. 25, 2007, and were distributed to retailers nationwide and to food service institutions in the New York metropolitan area, according to the USDA.

    Topps says it believes that the vast majority of the recalled product has already been consumed, but the company says people should check their freezers anyway.

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