June 2, 1998
Costco Recalls Kirkland Signature Frozen Ground Beef
Patties For E. coli O157:H7
ISSIQUAH, WA (SafetyAlerts)
- Costco Wholesale Corp. is voluntarily recalling about 172,000 pounds of frozen ground
beef patties sold at Costco wholesale stores that may be contaminated with Escherichia
coli O157:H7 bacteria, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection
Service announced today.
All 6-pound packages of the following two products
are being recalled: "Kirkland Signature GROUND SIRLOIN and Loin of Beef
Patties," Item # 18508 (18 individual 1/3-pound frozen patties) and "Kirkland
Signature GROUND BEEF PATTIES," Item # 18498 (24 individual 1/4-pound frozen
Subject to recall are boxes of the Ground Sirloin
Patties with the date code "04/07/98 MFG" or "04/06/98 MFG" on the
bottom and boxes of the Ground Beef Patties with the date code "04/07/98 MFG" on
the bottom. The time in military format precedes the date code. "EST. 18532"
appears inside the USDA inspection seal on the product label. No other products are
affected by the recall.
The two beef products were distributed exclusively
to Costco Wholesale Stores located in 24 states. USDA cautioned that consumers often
transport wholesale purchases across state lines. Costco distributed the recalled product
to the following 24 states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida,
Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire,
New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and
"Because of the potential hazard of foodborne
disease from consumption of undercooked frozen beef patties contaminated with the E.
coli O157:H7 bacteria, we urge consumers who may have purchased the suspect product to
return it to the place of purchase," said Thomas J. Billy, administrator of USDA's
Food Safety and Inspection Service. "USDA is informing the public so consumers who
may have purchased and stored this product in their freezers will be sure to check,"
USDA requested a full-scale recall today after
laboratory tests confirmed the presence of E. coli O157:H7 in product from a
production lot that was linked to an illness reported in New York state.
E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly
pathogen that can cause bloody diarrhea and dehydration. The very young, the elderly, and
persons with compromised immune systems are the most susceptible to foodborne illness. E.
coli O157:H7 has been implicated in several recent outbreaks of foodborne illness
across the United States.
USDA urges consumers to cook all ground beef and
hamburger thoroughly. The best way to ensure this is to use a meat thermometer, because
ground beef can turn brown before disease-causing bacteria are killed. To kill bacteria,
cook ground beef patties until a thermometer inserted into the center of the patty reads
160 degrees F. Persons who choose not to use a thermometer can decrease their risk of
illness by not eating ground beef patties that are still pink in the middle. For more
advice on cooking ground beef, visit the Food Safety and Inspection Service website at
Consumers with questions about the recall, or
other food safety or handling questions may phone the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry
Hotline at 1-800-535-4555. The hotline can be reached from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern
Time) Monday through Friday. In addition, timely food safety messages are available 24
hours a day, 7 days a week.
To help consumers identify the product, the
company has provided the following toll-free consumer inquiry number: 1-800-727-8248. The
number can be called from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm Pacific Time Monday through Sunday.
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