Health officials claim that tainted ground beef bought from stores caused E.Coli outbreak. Seven persons took ill and three persons had to be hospitalized before they recovered. Severe stomach cramps and diarrhea are the known symptoms of E.Coli.
PM Beef, the meat company believed to be responsible for supplying tainted stuff, withdrew nearly 117,500 pounds of beef it had shipped to eight states.
The US Department of Agriculture confirmed that PM Beef Holdings LLC of Windom had voluntarily withdrawn the spoilt meat supplied to distributors and retailers in Arizona, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.
The Department said the beef trim was turned into ground beef by the stores that sold them under many different retail brand names.
The PM Beef spokesman said they have already notified the distributors who had bought the beef. He maintained that no E. Coli was found inside the PM Beef facility and the large scale voluntary withdrawal was to "get any product that might be in question away from the public, period."
During 2003 also, PM Beef had similarly recalled from the market 1,126 pounds of beef trim for suspected contamination although the two incidents are not connected.
Workers at Lunds and Byerly's have voluntarily removed ground beef off the shelves at all their 21 retail outlets. The chain has appealed to all its customers to either throw away the beef they already bought or return it for a refund. They are taking these measures to safeguard public health.
All that the investigators know so far is, the tainted beef had come from the PM Beef plant in Windom in Minnesota. The question, that is being looked into, is whether the tainted beef was supplied to more grocery stores and other retail outlets across the country.
Brian Hanif of the Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health,said the food distribution system in the country was complicated and it may take the authorities several weeks to know full details. Hanif further cautioned "Make sure that you're cooking your food properly to 165 degrees and don't eat raw ground beef.