E. Coli Vexes Despite Safety Effort

US - In the federal records, it is Case No. 015-97, opened on Aug. 12, 1997, and closed on Feb. 9, 1999.
calendar icon 22 August 2007
clock icon 2 minute read
A USDA inspector looks over a meat safety tag. Cleanliness in slaughtering has become a main focus in addressing E. coli problems.

But most people simply refer to it as the Hudson recall.

It started with the recall by the Hudson Foods Inc., plant at Columbus, Neb., of 20,000 pounds of ground beef potentially infected with E. coli O157:H7.

Nine days later — 10 years ago today — the recall was increased more than 1,000-fold to 25 million pounds. The Hudson plant closed and was sold a week later.

It stands as the largest ground beef recall in U.S. history. The 15 million pounds of beef that were never recovered resulted in 16 confirmed illnesses but no known deaths.

Like other incidents of food contamination, the event triggered an intense national focus on food safety.

"I think that outbreak and recall helped the USDA and others understand how to trace the foods back through the system through records and information," said Mike Lynch, an epidemiologist at the national Centers for Disease Control.

Since 1997, regulators, meatpackers, researchers and cattlemen have ratcheted up their attempts to curtail the stubborn E. coli O157:H7 pathogen that is so hearty it can live in frozen turf.

As a result of millions of dollars of research and sanitation upgrades, the number of recalls related to E. coli has declined dramatically in the past five years — from 35 in 2002 to eight in 2006. So far in 2007, there have been five. Recently, some of the major recalls have been in vegetables, not beef.

Source: Omaha World-Herald

© 2000 - 2023 - Global Ag Media. All Rights Reserved | No part of this site may be reproduced without permission.