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May 28, 1998

Boyd's Wholesale Meats Recalls Ground Beef for E. coli 0157:H7

KLAMATH FALLS, OR (SafetyAlerts) - Boyd's Wholesale Meats, a Klamath Falls, Ore., meat processing firm, is voluntarily recalling two days production of ground beef that may be contaminated with Escherichia coli O157:H7 bacteria, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced today.

A small amount, estimated to be about 15-20 pounds, was sold directly to local customers who came to the plant on May 21 to purchase meat products. Any ground beef bought at the plant on May 21 is included in the affected lot and should be returned. The product was labeled with the firm's name, "Boyd's Wholesale Meats," and has the firm's establishment number, "Est. 9241" inside the USDA inspection legend on the label.

However, most of the 2,500 lbs. produced on May 21 and 22 went to institutional customers--such as restaurants--and has been returned. All institutional users have been contacted by the company about the recall.

USDA discovered the problem through its routine monitoring program for E. coli O157:H7 in ground beef.

E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacteria 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 bacteria have been implicated in several recent outbreaks of foodborne illness across the United States.

"Because of the potential hazard of foodborne disease from consumption of undercooked or underprocessed meat and poultry products contaminated with pathogens such as 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 William West, acting administrator of USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service. "USDA is informing the public so consumers who may have purchased and stored product in their freezers around that time can know to check," West said.

Consumers with questions about the recall 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. This number also provides access to a telecommunications device for the deaf and the hearing impaired.

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