A Detroit company has issued a recall of almost two million pounds of ground beef. The beef, which came from the Wolverine Packing Co., allegedly contains E. coli bacteria. It has been linked to reports of illness by 11 people in four states, including Michigan, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The youngest person reportedly sickened is 19, while the oldest is 46.
The beef had been shipped to nine states -- to both stores as well as to distributors that provide food for restaurants across the country. Although the United States Department of Agriculture has published a list of stores to which the allegedly tainted beef was sent, it says that it may have gone to even more markets. It is advising beef consumers to check its Food Safety and Inspection Service website for identifying information on the packages. The beef being recalled was produced from March 31 until April 18. The dates on the packaging reflect those dates.
Foodborne illnesses are something that should concern any business that is involved in the food industry -- whether as a producer, distributor, retailer or restaurant. According to the CDC, such illnesses impact 48 million Americans annually. Of these, 128,000 are hospitalized. Some 3,000 do not survive.
Allegations of producing or selling unsafe food can result in costly business litigation and potentially even criminal charges and fines. They can also destroy a company's reputation. Any company charged with safety issues or contamination of its products should work closely with its legal team to help prevent any further illness or injury to consumers and to minimize the negative impact on the business.
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Pennsylvania among states that received beef contaminated with E. coli" No author given, May. 23, 2014