Bison meat recalled nationwide for possible E.coli

Rocky Mountain Natural Meats is recalling approximately 66,000 pounds of bison meat due to potential E. coli contamination, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced.

The recalled ground and tenderized bison, distributed nationwide, is sold at a number of supermarkets, including Hannaford's, King Snoopers's, Market Basket, Price Chopper's and Whole Foods. The retail distribution list will be updated as needed.

This is a Class I, High Health Risk recall, and the FSIS advises anyone with signs or symptoms of food borne illness to contact a physician. This specific strain, called E. coli O157:H7, is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration, and in the most severe cases, kidney failure.
The following products have been recalled:
  • 16-ounce packages of "GREAT RANGE BRAND ALL NATURAL GROUND BISON." These products have a "sell or freeze by" date of June 21, June 22 or June 24, 2010.
  • 16-ounce packages of "NATURE'S RANCHER GROUND BUFFALO." These products have a "sell or freeze by" date of June 22, 2010.
  • 16-ounce packages of "THE BUFFALO GUYS ALL NATURAL GROUND BUFFALO 90% LEAN." These products have a lot number of 0147.
  • 12-ounce packages of "GREAT RANGE BRAND ALL NATURAL BISON STEAK MEDALLIONS." These products have a "sell or freeze by" date of June 23 and June 24, 2010
  • 12-ounce packages of "GREAT RANGE BRAND ALL NATURAL BISON SIRLOIN STEAKS." These products have a "sell or freeze by" date of June 20, June 23 and June 24, 2010
  • 15-pound boxes of "ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATURAL MEATS, INC. BISON 10 OZ SIRLOIN STEAK." These products went to restaurants and bear a Julian Code of 0141.
You can view images of all the recalled products on the Rocky Mountain Natural Meats Web site, which also show you how to locate the "sell or freeze by" dates.

All the recalled bison meat is labeled with the establishment number "EST. 20247" inside the USDA inspection mark. The bison meat was dated between May 21and May 27, 2010, and distributed to retail establishments nationwide and food service distributors in Utah and Arizona. Although the "sell by" dates for all these products have expired, FSIS is concerned that some of the recalled bison meat may still be sitting in the some consumers' freezers.

FSIS first became aware of the problem during an ongoing investigation into a cluster of E. coli O157:H7 in Colorado that occurred between June 4 and June 9, 2010. FSIS, together with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the New York Department of Health, have identified 5 cases in Colorado and 1 in New York.

FSIS was able to pinpoint the Henderson, Colo. company after identifying a link between its ground bison products and the illnesses in Colorado. FSIS is continuing to work with the CDC, affected state public health partners, and the Rocky Mountain Natural Meats on the investigation.

The very young, seniors and persons with weak immune systems are the most susceptible to foodborne illness such as E. coli. Individuals concerned about an illness should contact a physician.

Consumers with questions about the recall can contact Rocky Mountain Natural Meats at (800) 325-4164.
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