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Online Version Slightly Revised November 23, 1998

Media Communications Office
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        WASHINGTON, November 20, 1998 -- Glenmark Industries Ltd., a Chicago meat processing firm, is voluntarily recalling three weeks' production of frozen ground beef patties 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 June 24 through July 15 production involves approximately 601,000 pounds of frozen ground beef, of which 366,000 pounds were sold in retail packages that can be directly purchased by consumers, who may still have it in their freezers. The company has already contacted its wholesale distributors and customers to retrieve the product.

         Boxes or cartons of patties subject to recall can be identified by consumers by the following product names and codes:

  • President's Choice Beef Patties, 3-oz patties in 3-lb packages with the date codes: 8179 followed by 16 through 24;

  • President's Choice Thick and Juicy Beef Patties, 5.3-oz patties in 2-lb packages with the date codes: 8195 followed by the letters A through H;

  • Glenmark 100% Pure Ground Beef Steak Eater's Beef in 3-lb packages with the date codes: 1768 followed by 23 and 24; 1778 followed by 18 through 24; 1828 followed by 08 through 23; 1878 followed by 07; 1918 followed by 15 through 23; 1958 followed by 22 through 24; and 1968 followed by 08 through 23 ;

  • Glenmark Cookout Burgers in 3-lb packages and 2-lb packages with the date codes: 1758 followed by 08 through 15; 1778 followed by 08 through 17; and 1878 followed by 07 through 15;

  • Glenmark The Great Grillsby Mildly Seasoned Beef Patties in 3-lb packages with the date codes: 1768 followed by 08 through 23; and 1898 followed by 07 through 15;

  • Ground Beef Patties, P&C Foods, in 3-lb packages with date codes: 1828 followed by 22 or 23;

  • Big M Supermarket Ground Beef Patties in 3-lb packages with date codes: 1828 followed by 19 through 21;

  • Armour Premium Beef Burgers in 3-lb packages and 1.5-lb packages with date codes: 8175; 8182; 8187; 8189; 8190; 8191; 8196; 8197.

        Product packaged for retail sale may have been distributed nationwide.

        USDA learned of the problem when a customer became ill and was admitted to the hospital in Albany, NY. The NY State Health Department tested the product from an open package from the freezer of the ill customer and found E. coli O157:H7. FSIS sampled patties from the same lot obtained from a warehouse in Western Massachusetts and confirmed the positive finding.

        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 Thomas J. Billy, administrator of USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service. "USDA is informing the public so consumers who may have purchased product will check for the product in their freezers," Billy 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 David Van Kampen, president, Glenmark Industries, 1-888-611-4330.