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FSIS-98-RC-20

Media Communications Office
(202) 720-9113; FAX: (202) 690-0460
Contact: Steve Lombardi
Linda Swacina

IBP RECALLS GROUND BEEF FOR POTENTIAL E.COLI O157:H7

        WASHINGTON, November 5, 1998--IBP, Inc., a Dakota City, Neb., meat processing firm, is voluntarily recalling one day’s 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.

        The October 22, 1998, production involves 556,226 pounds of ground beef, of which 37,360 pounds was sold in retail packages that can be directly purchased by consumers. The company is contacting its wholesale distributors and customers to retrieve the product.

        Packages of ground beef subject to recall that are identifiable by consumers are 5-pound chubs without a brand name labeled under the product name "Ground Beef (20% fat)" or "Ground Beef (27% fat)." The recalled consumer product can be identified by the following 3-line production code:

EST 245C
SELL/FREEZE BY
NOV 09 B

        Product packaged for retail sale was distributed to the following 14 states: Alabama, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin. In addition to the above 14 states, wholesale product was also shipped to following 19 states: California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia. Some of the product was also distributed to Canada.

        USDA learned of the problem from the firm, which was contacted by one of its customers, who notified IBP of a potential finding of E. coli O157:H7 in the product. USDA obtained samples from the same lot for followup testing, but conclusive results will not be available until tomorrow.

        "We are encouraged the company has taken immediate action to recall this product," said Margaret Glavin, acting administrator of USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service.

        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 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 E. coli O157:H7, we urge consumers who may have purchased the suspect product to return it to the place of purchase," said Glavin. "USDA is informing the public so consumers who may have purchased product will check for the product in their freezers," Glavin 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.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Media inquiries to the company should be directed to Gary Mickelson at 402-241-2986.

To help consumers identify the recalled product and for other information, the company has provided the the following toll-free number: 1-877-427-6328. The number can be reached between 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. CST. The IBP web site at www.ibpinc.com.