Topps Meat Company, the company whose ground beef products were identified as the source of an E. coli outbreak and recalled over 21 million pounds of ground beef in recent weeks, closed today. It is closing its business six days after it was forced to issue the second-largest beef recall in U.S. history and 67 years after it first opened its doors.
USDA officials also acknowledged that the recall could have been announced much faster, admitting that a positive E. coli sample from Topps brand meat was identified weeks before the recall was announced.
Topps began recalling frozen hamburger patties that may have been contaminated with the E. coli bacteria strain O157:H7. The recall eventually ballooned to 21.7 million pounds of ground beef.
Topps Chief Operating Officer Anthony D’Urso, told the Jeff Gold of the Associated Press that a few employees will remain at the processing facility to help USDA scientists investigate the source of the E. coli outbreak, but that the company would not reopen.
Thirty people in eight states had E. coli infections matching the strain found in the Topps patties, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. None have died. The decision will cost 87 people their jobs.