Korte & Co., Inc., an Easton, Pa., establishment, is voluntarily recalling approximately 4,600 pounds of fresh ground beef that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced Saturday (10 November).

The products being recalled are:

  • Cases of "KORTE COMPANY, INC. Ground Beef." The cases were packed to order containing individual packages of various weights labeled "Korte's BRAND" and each package bears "EST.9364" inside the USDA seal of inspection. Each case is marked with the case code "111105" and bears "EST.9364" inside the USDA seal of inspection.
  • 60 lb. Lugs (plastic containers) of "KORTE COMPANY, INC. Ground Beef." Each lug is marked with a code date of "111105" and bears "EST.9364" inside the USDA seal of inspection.

The ground beef was produced on Nov. 5 and distributed to wholesale and institutional establishments in Ephrata and Easton, Pa.

"Because of the potential hazard of foodborne illness from consumption of meat products contaminated with harmful bacteria such as E. coli O157:H7, I urge consumers who have purchased the suspect product not to eat it and return it to the place of purchase," said Margaret Glavin, FSIS acting administrator. "USDA is informing the public so consumers who may have purchased and stored the product in their refrigerators or freezers can know to check."

The problem was discovered through routine 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.

Media and consumers with questions about the recall may contact Ernest Bassert, president Korte Co., Inc., at (610) 253-9141 or (610) 656-1896.

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 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday, and recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day.

NOTE: Access news releases and other information at the FSIS Web site at http://www.fsis.usda.gov