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1 million pounds of tainted ground beef recalled

The health regulators and the company are working to remove the beef products from the shelves of grocery stores.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is sending an alert about ground beef products that can cause serious illness because they may be contaminated with E. coli.

On Aug. 5, Valley Meat Co., based in Modesto, Calif., initiated a voluntary recall of one million pounds of bulk ground beef and frozen ground beef patties after seven cases of illness surfaced in Northern California between February and June, 2010.

The health regulators and the company are working to remove the beef products from the shelves of grocery stores.

They are also urging consumers to immediately throw out the recalled items in their freezer or return them to their local store for a refund.

“This is the first recall in our history and we will investigate the matter thoroughly and take any measures deemed necessary to further elevate our safety standards, protect consumers, and ensure confidence in our products,” the company said in a statement.

The ground beef recall covers frozen ground beef patties and bulk ground beef that has the establishment number "EST. 8268" inside the USDA mark of inspection on the packaging as well as a five digit production codes of 25709 through 36509 and 00110 through 01210, which reflect the day and the year the product was made.

What to look for in the ground beef recall
According to Valley Meat Co., the ground beef was produced between the dates of Oct. 2, 2009 through Jan. 12, 2010 and distributed to small markets, grocery stores and food service facilities in California, Arizona, Oregon, Texas, and internationally.

The ground beef recall covers frozen ground beef patties and bulk ground beef that has the establishment number "EST. 8268" inside the USDA mark of inspection on the packaging as well as a five digit production codes of 25709 through 36509 and 00110 through 01210, which reflect the day and the year the product was made.

The beef included in the recall was sold under the Safeway Inc. and various other labels.

E. Coli symptoms
E. coli is short for Escherichia coli – a, bacteria (germ) that causes severe cramps and bloody diarrhea, dehydration and sometimes kidney failure.

It may cause a mild fever, nausea, or vomiting. The symptoms are worse in children and older people, and especially in people who have another illness.

The most common way to get this infection is by eating contaminated food or meat that is not cooked properly. When you eat undercooked beef, the germs go into your stomach and intestines.

Anyone with signs or symptoms of illness is urged to contact their healthcare provider.