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Dangerous E. coli Contamination in 14,158 Pounds of Ground Beef

March 11, 2011 -- Potentially deadly contamination with E. coli bacteria has led to the recall of 14,158 pounds of ground beef in 10 states.

The ground beef came from Creekstone Farms Premium Beef, located in Arkansas City, Kansas. It was distributed in large 40- and 60-lb. cases to wholesalers in Arizona, California, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington.

However, the beef likely was repackaged into consumer-size packages and sold under various retail brand names.

The U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is trying to find all the retail outlets where the beef was sold. So far, only 28 specific outlets, all in Missouri, have been identified. These outlets include Price Cutter, Ramey, Country Market, Murfin, Mike's Market, Smitty, and Bistro Market stores.

The E. coli was detected during routine testing by one of the wholesalers to whom the product was shipped.

The specific bacteria detected in the beef are E. coli O157:H7. It's a very bad bug. Infection can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration, and, in severe cases, kidney failure. Very young and very old people are particularly vulnerable to severe illness, as are people with weak immune systems.

The best way to avoid E. colifood poisoning is to take food-safety precautions while handling raw beef and to thoroughly cook beef to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

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