Beef is under recall from Wal-Marts all over Nebraska, including North Platte, after 10 cases of potentially deadly e-coli in Canada were traced to an XL Foods plant in Alberta.
The first case of e-coli occured in early September and a beef recall began in Canada. With more e-coli cases, more beef came under recall, amounting to the largest recall in Canadian history, and reaching far into the United States as a precaution.
At first, nearly 890,000 pounds of boneless beef trim were said to have been shipped to U.S. firms from XL Foods, Inc., but after conducting effectiveness checks, the U.S. Department of Agriculture now estimates that nearly 1.1 million pounds of trim and approximately 1.4 million pounds of primal and sub-primal cuts were received by U.S. firms.
The meat was used to produce steaks, roasts, mechanically tenderized steaks and roasts, and ground beef, the USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service said.
Meanwhile, the Public Health Agency of Canada recently linked five more illnesses to the strain of E. coli detected at the XL facility, bringing the number of confirmed cases to 10.
Most of the E.coli illnesses have occurred in Alberta, with two in Quebec and one in Newfoundland, Canadian TV reported.
The e.coli found at XL Foods -- E.coli O157 -- had not been detected in Canada or the United States prior to now.
Twenty-seven Nebraska Wal-Marts from Omaha to North Platte and McCook are affected by the recall.
The scope of the recall has placed the Canadian Food Inspection Agency under renewed scrutiny, CTV reported.
USDA: Prepare ground beef properly
The USDA advises people to wash hands before and after handling raw meat with warm/hot (preferred) or cold soapy running water by rubbing hands together vigorously for at least 20 seconds.
Also, the USDA says:
• Wash cutting boards, dishes and utensils with hot (preferred), soapy water and clean up any spills right away.
The mechanical action of vigorous rubbing of hands and utensils/surfaces creates friction that helps to dislodge bacteria and viruses from hands and surfaces.
Additionally, warm/hot water helps to dissolve fats/foods, aiding in cleaning/microbe removal and can also assist in deactivation of pathogens.
If soapy water is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations. However, sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs, including viruses.
• Keep raw meat, fish and poultry away from other food that will not be thoroughly cooked.
• Use separate cutting boards for raw meat, poultry, and their juices and thoroughly cooked foods. • Thoroughly cook ground meat such as beef to an internal temperature of 160° F, as measured with a food thermometer, before eating.
• Refrigerate raw meat and poultry within two hours after purchase (one hour if temperatures exceed 90° F).
• Refrigerate cooked meat and poultry within two hours after cooking.