Over 20 tons of ground beef may be contaminated with E. coli. The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service considers this to be a Class 1 recall–the most serious level.
Random safety testing by the USDA revealed that certain lots of beef were contaminated by E. coli. New Jersey-based company Lakeside Refrigerated Services shipped out almost 43,000 pounds of raw beef to retailers nationwide. The list of stores includes multiple Walmart locations.
Walmart issued a statement assuring customers that they were taking the recall seriously:
“Walmart is committed to providing our customers with safe, high-quality products at our everyday low prices. As soon as we were notified by Thomas Foods of the recall, we immediately began the process of alerting our stores and distribution centers to remove the affected product from our store shelves and inventory, including a sales restriction. Customers who have purchased the items identified in the recall should dispose of the product and return to their nearest Walmart for a full refund.”
Recalls like this one are always serious, but it comes at a particularly bad time. As anxiety over the protein supply chain continues due to the coronavirus, recalling and destroying 20 tons of beef is especially troubling.
Because the beef was sold under many different labels, it’s important to check the specific lot codes listed below. Depending on where you may have purchased meat recently, it could be contaminated with E. coli. Here’s a complete list of the products being recalled:
- One-pound vacuum packages containing “MARKETSIDE BUTCHER ORGANIC GRASS-FED GROUND BEEF” and a use or freeze by date of 07/01/20 and lot code P-53298-82.
- One-pound vacuum packages containing four ¼ lb. pieces of “MARKETSIDE BUTCHER ORGANIC GRASS-FED GROUND BEEF PATTIES” and a use or freeze by date of June 27, 2020 and lot code P-53934-28.
- Three-pound vacuum packages containing three 1 lb. pieces of “MARKETSIDE BUTCHER ORGANIC GRASS-FED GROUND BEEF 93% LEAN / 7% FAT” and a use or freeze by date of 07/01/20 and lot code P53929-70.
- One-pound tray packages containing four ¼ lb. pieces of “THOMAS FARMS GRASS-FED GROUND BEEF PATTIES 85% LEAN / 15% FAT” and a use or freeze by date of 06/25/20 and lot code P53944-10.
- Four-pound tray packages containing 10 ¼ lb. pieces of “THOMAS FARMS GRASS-FED GROUND BEEF PATTIES 80% LEAN / 20% FAT” and a use or freeze by date of 06/25/20 and lot code P53937-45.
- One-pound vacuum packages containing four ¼ lb. pieces of “THOMAS FARMS GRASS-FED GROUND BEEF PATTIES 85% LEAN / 15% FAT” and a use or freeze by date of 06/27/20 and lot code P53935-25.
- One-pound vacuum packages containing “VALUE PACK FRESH GROUND BEEF 76% LEAN / 24% FAT” and a use or freeze by date of 07/01/20 and lot code P53930-18.
How Worried Should You Be?
The USDA ranks food recalls according to the potential public safety threat. Class 1 is the highest possible threat level, representing “a health hazard situation where there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death.”
That’s because E. coli can be deadly to people with weakened immune systems, as well as very young children and the elderly. If you think you might have consumed the contaminated meat and experience symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, contact your doctor.