All News / Recalls /

E. coli-tainted Meat Causes Illnesses in Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, S. Dakota, and Washington

On Christmas eve the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a notice that National Steak and Poultry (NSP) was recalling 248,000 pounds of beef steaks contaminated with the highly virulent pathogen E. coli O157:H7. The steaks were mechanically tenderized “non-intact steaks”, and were shipped to restaurants nationwide. Although the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) working with state health and agriculture departments linked the steaks to NSP while investigating illnesses in restaurants six states—Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, South Dakota, and Washington—a list detailing the distribution of the steaks has not been released by FSIS, CDC or NSP.

“When it involves E. coli O157:H7, just issuing a recall isn’t remotely enough action to protect consumers,” said Bill Marler, a Seattle-based food safety advocate and attorney. “The recall was issued on a holiday, with illnesses across the country and only a vague reference to meat being shipped to restaurants nationwide. The FSIS, CDC and NSP must know which restaurants it went to and the public deserves to know, too.”

Food Safety News reported this morning that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was warned in June 2009 of the risk of “non-intact steaks (blade tenderized prior to further processing),” or mechanically tenderized meat, by a coalition of food safety advocates. Secretary Vilsack was specifically warned that outbreaks associated with mechanically tenderized meat products have been on the rise. Beef products like steaks and roasts that have been tenderized by piercing the surface with small needles or blades contain a risk that any pathogens on the surface of the meat were carried to the interior of the product, where they might not be eliminated when the product is cooked.

“Information on the distribution of these steaks has been withheld to protect whom?” continued Marler. “We need to know who is looking out for the consumer. How will someone know if the restaurant they patronize received the meat or even knows about the recall? How will restaurant management know to return the product and not serve it? This information is available, and getting it out quickly is absolutely critical to public health.”

Get Help

Affected by an outbreak or recall?

The team at Marler Clark is here to answer all your questions. Find out if you’re eligible for a lawsuit, what questions to ask your doctor, and more.

Get a free consultation
Related Resources
E. coli Food Poisoning

What is E. coli and how does it cause food poisoning? Escherichia coli (E. coli) is a highly studied, common species of bacteria that belongs to the family Enterobacteriaceae, so...

E. coli O157:H7

E. coli O157:H7 is a foodborne pathogen that causes food poisoning. E. coli O157:H7 is the most commonly identified and the most notorious Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) serotype in...

Non-O157 STEC

Non-O157 Shiga Toxin-Producing E. coli can also cause food poisoning. E. coli O157:H7 may be the most notorious serotype of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC), but there are at least...

Sources of E. coli

Where do E. coli O157:H7 and non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) come from? The primary reservoirs, or ultimate sources, of E. coli O157:H7 and non-O157 STEC in nature are...

Transmission of and Infection with E. coli

While many dairy cattle-associated foodborne disease outbreaks are linked to raw milk and other raw dairy products (e.g., cheeses, butter, ice cream), dairy cattle still represent a source of contamination...

Outbreak Database

Looking for a comprehensive list of outbreaks?

The team at Marler Clark is here to answer all your questions. Find out if you’re eligible for a lawsuit, what questions to ask your doctor, and more.

View Outbreak Database