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Eight Confirmed E. coli Cases In Georgia; Four Pending — Nebraska Beef Moved Too Slow For USDA

Here are two things that come as no surprise. First, Nebraska Beef Limited (some would say very limited) is not playing nice with the United States Department of Agriculture. Second, the number of confirmed E. coli 0157:H7 cases in southern Georgia continues to increase.

Let’s take them one at a time. Tests discovered E. coli contamination in the Nebraska Beef’s massive Omaha slaughterhouse in early June.

"The establishment didn’t take appropriate actions when positives were found," USDA spokeswoman Amanda Eamich said. "It’s all about their ability to control E. coli 0157:H7."

Slow to its initial recall of 531,707 pounds of ground beef makings; Nebraska Beef had to up the amount to 5.3 million pounds after definite links were made to 41 confirmed cases of E. coli in Ohio and Michigan. The company, which denies most everything, denies it moved too slowly as well.

This morning, The Moultrie Observer gave this update on the Georgia end of now multi-state outbreak:

The Barbecue Pit, the restaurant that closed voluntarily July 3 at Southwest Georgia Public Health District’s request, remained closed Monday as disease investigators announced the tally of E. coli patients has climbed to eight confirmed and four presumed cases.

“Although the number of patients being seen at Colquitt Regional Medical Center has slowed down, people are still seeking treatment and in some cases being admitted with bloody diarrhea and other symptoms,” Southwest Georgia Public Health District Health Director Jacqueline Grant said. “To ensure there is no ongoing risk to the public, we are asking the restaurant to remain closed while we continue our investigation.”

Disease investigators learned Friday a sample from one of the confirmed cases was a match to the Escherichia coli (E. coli) 0157 bacteria strain behind disease outbreaks in Michigan and Ohio. Those illnesses were linked to ground beef. Results of samples taken from the Barbecue Pit on Friday may be available Tuesday, Grant said.

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