Montana Quality Foods and Processing is voluntarily recalling approximately 270 pounds of fresh ground beef that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has announced.

The products subject to recall are packaged in boxes of various weight and sizes. Each box is labeled "GENERAL CUSTER BRAND MEATS. ESTABLISHED 1946" and contains case codes of "23-1," "23-2," "23-3," or "23-4". The establishment code "EST. 7679" is located inside the USDA seal of inspection. Each box contains 10 pound bags, which bear the label "Ground Beef," and the company name and "EST. 7679".

The ground beef was produced on 23 January and distributed to restaurants in Miles City, Forsyth, Colstrip and Ashland, Montana.

"Because of the potential for serious foodborne illness, we want consumers to be aware of the recall," said Margaret O'K. Glavin acting FSIS administrator. "Diners in Montana should ask if meals made with ground beef contain the recalled product."

The problem was discovered through FSIS microbiological sampling.

E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacteria that can cause bloody diarrhea and dehydration. The very young, the elderly, and persons with compromised immune systems are the most susceptible to foodborne illness.

FSIS has received no reports of illnesses associated with consumption of this product. Anyone concerned about an illness should contact a physician.

Consumers and media with questions about the recall may contact John Munsell, company president, at (406) 232-0689.

Consumers with food safety questions can phone the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-800-535-4555. The hotline can be reached from 10am to 4pm (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday, and recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day.