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E. Coli Tainted Meat Recalled

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A Merced company has recalled year-old hamburger meat distributed in California and elsewhere after at least three Napa County children became ill with a virulent strain of E. coli, health officials said Friday, according to an article Saturday in the Los Angeles Times. The meat was reportedly produced by Richwood Meat Co. on April 28, 2006, dated either “4-28-06” or “118-6,” for the 118th day of the year, company officials said. Although the product was manufactured a year ago, the patties still may be present in freezers at home or in stores, officials said.

The products were distributed to institutional food services, food distributors, discount grocers and retail outlets such as WinCo and Vons, officials said. The recalled meat also was shipped to Arizona, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. The tainted hamburger patties were served at a concession stand at a Little League field in St. Helena, Calif., about 65 miles north of San Francisco. Health officials found the E. coli strain in remaining frozen hamburger stored by the stand and by the store that sold it the meat, Salami Lady’s Cash & Carry.

Health officials urged the public to throw away any of the recalled meat or return it to the store where it was purchased. It is dangerous to consume even if cooked until black, health officials say. The ill children suffered from bloody diarrhea for three to five days, but none developed the more serious complications of E. coli infection that result in kidney failure, the Times reported. All three children confirmed to have contracted E. coli have recovered, as well as two additional children who showed similar symptoms. No new illnesses have been reported since April 4. The recalled products carry the brand names Fireriver, Ritz Food Service, Chef’s Pride, Blackwood Farms, California Pacific Associates, C&C Distributing, Golbon and Richwood.

Food-borne illnesses have become one of the major challenges today in our country. Rarely does a week go by that there isn’t a major recall of food. Our chain restaurants and fast food giants have all had food poisoning episodes. Thousands of pet owners lost pets due to contaminated food. This feels like an out of control train speeding towards a terrible wreck.

E. Coli, listeria and salmonella pose significant health risks and can be fatal. Nearly every day, someplace in the world there is a case of mass food poisoning. School cafeterias, banquets and even a Russian State dinner, have all experienced mass food poisonings in the last month.

Filing a food poisoning complaint
If you have suffered food poisoning and you want to file a complaint, visit the Orange County Health Care Agency’s Web site for instructions. If you want to discuss your legal options after suffering some type of food poisoning, call me, John Bisnar, 800-259-6373.

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