Second E. coli scare sparks meat recall

Mark A. DeSorbo

GREEN BAY, WI—Another E. coli scare in Minnesota is being cited as the reason meatpacking company American Foods Group Inc. is recalling 1.1 million pounds of ground beef sent to stores in 15 states in early November.

“Circumstantial evidence raises the possibility that recent serious illnesses may be related to our product,” Carl Kuene, chief executive, told the Associated Press.

Although no tests have confirmed the company's meat was contaminated, a news release from American Foods indicated that the decision to recall the meat was reached after consultation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Department of Health is investigating 22 cases of E. coli poisoning with links to ground beef sold at eight Cub Foods stores. The Health Department reports that the number of confirmed infections was expected to increase.

Wisconsin saw the first of its outbreaks in July involving a Milwaukee Sizzler and another in suburban Wauwatosa. The outbreak claimed the life of a 3-year-old girl and sickened at least 65 others. [See “E. coli outbreaks fuel federal action,” October 2000, p. 1].

Along with recalling beef from Cub Foods and parent company Supervalu stores in Minnesota, beef has also been collected in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.

The USDA is also conducting an investigation surrounding a Virginia woman's discovery in an order of McDonald's chicken wings: a crispy-fried chicken head.

Katherine Ortega was at a McDonald's in Newport News, VA, when she found the head in an order of chicken wings, which was supposed to be dinner for her sons. “What gave it away was the beak,” she told Fox News. “Thank God I sorted it out because they probably would have bit into it.”


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