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U.S. Food Retailers Initiate Ground Beef Recall

Posted August. 11, 2008 06:49,   


News of U.S. beef recalls from across the Pacific yesterday rattled Koreans, who have spent months questioning the safety of the meat.

Whole Foods Market, an American maker of organic food, announced Saturday a recall of fresh ground beef sold between June 2 and Wednesday last week due to fears of E. coli O157:H7 infection. E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly form of bacteria that can cause diarrhea and colitis.

The recalled meat was processed at a plant of Nebraska Beef, which slaughters around 2,000 cows a day.

Nebraska Beef is one of 29 U.S. exporters allowed to process beef for the Korean market by the U.S. Agriculture Department. The company’s first beef recall of the year came June 30 and its second Friday.

This summer alone, the company’s food products are suspected to have caused 49 cases of food poisoning.

Through the end of last month, 28 beef recalls were made in the United States, compared to 56 for all of last year.

Many of the recalls were blamed on insufficient removal of specified risk materials or coli infection.

Korean media erroneously called the recall the biggest in U.S. history, overlooking a recall prompted by a Downer cow film in February that involved 65,000 metric tons of beef.

Among recalls triggered by immediate threat of disease, the biggest was for 16,000 tons of beef in 1999.

According to U.S. authorities, E. coli O157 infects 73,000 Americans each year, killing 61. Most of the victims are children and the elderly, who have weaker immune systems.