Nebraska firm expands beef recall, USDA says

The U.S. Agriculture Department (USDA) has said Omaha meat packing company Nebraska Beef Ltd is expanding its recently announced beef recall, after USDA regulators concluded that the company's production practices on June 24 were insufficient to effectively control E. coli.

Nebraska Beef added about 160,000 pounds of beef to last week's beef recall of 1.2 million pounds that may be contaminated with a particularly dangerous strain of E. coli.

The total amount now in the recall is about 1.36 million pounds of beef, and includes beef that was produced on June 24, the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service said on its web site.

The recall is "Class 1," meaning there is a "reasonable probability" that eating the beef "will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death," the USDA said. It is the most dangerous level of the three classes of recall.

"The products subject to the expansion may have been produced under insanitary conditions," the USDA said in a statement.

The recall is of primal and subprimal cuts that are larger sections of cows, such as chuck and rib, that can be cut down for individual or family-sized packaging.

It also is of "boxed beef" or carcasses that have been partially disassembled for shipping. Shipping containers and some product labels will bear Nebraska Beef's identifying the establishment number, "EST. 19336," but may or may not bear a green sticker, the USDA said.

Products bearing the green sticker were included in the 1.2 million pounds originally recalled, but were not identified in the product description with the company name, the USDA said.

E. coli O157:H7 can cause diarrhea and dehydration. Children, the elderly and people with weak immune systems are the most susceptible.

Last month, Nebraska Beef recalled 5.3 million pounds of material used in making ground beef after 40 illnesses were reported in connection with its ground beef.