Omaha Steaks today announced it is voluntarily recalling approximately 22,000 pounds of ground beef produced on July 18, 2000, because of possible E. coli O157:H7 contamination.

A sample of a frozen ground beef patty produced on July 18 was analyzed following a reported illness of one person who consumed the product. Therefore, out of an abundance of caution, the company is recalling the following ground beef products with the production code beginning with the digits 07180 and ending in 21, 22 or 25:
  • Item number 1249: six, 4-ounce ground beef burgers

  • Item number 658: 12, 4-ounce ground beef burgers

  • Item number 0710004: two, 25-pound bags ground beef

  • Item number 3611080: 25-piece, 8-ounce ground beef chuck patties

  • Item number 4011050: Horizon brand 32-piece, 5-ounce ground beef chuck patties
The recalled product was sold nationally to Omaha Steaks customers and certain wholesale accounts. Omaha Steaks is working closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service and our customers to ensure none of the recalled product is consumed.

"For 83 years, our family's top priority has been to ensure the integrity of our products and the trust of our customers. We pride ourselves on the quality and safety of our products. Our top priority is to notify our customers and make sure the product is removed from their refrigerators and freezers. We encourage our customers to call Omaha Steaks if they have any questions," said Bruce Simon, president and COO of Omaha Steaks.

Since the product was produced more than three months ago, it is highly unlikely that any of the product remains in the marketplace. Omaha Steaks asks its customers to check for these products in their refrigerators or freezers and discard them. Customers should then call the toll-free Omaha Steaks Product Safety Information line at 1-877-789-7117 (Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. - 10 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Sunday, noon - 5 p.m. Central Time), and the company will refund or replace their product. Customers also may refer to Omaha Steaks' Web site at http://www.omahasteaks.com/safety for more information .

Omaha Steaks operates under the highest production and quality standards, including a stringent Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) program -- a science-based production system designed to minimize the possibility of microbial contamination. The company's commitment to food safety is backed up by its substantial investment in a state-of-the-art facility designed to maximize food safety, including electronic pasteurization technology that soon will be implemented in its production process.

Consumers should be reassured that as long as ground beef is fully cooked there is no danger of illness, even if E. coli O157:H7 is present. According to USDA guidelines for restaurants and consumers, cooking ground beef until its core temperature is at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit kills harmful bacteria, including E. coli O157:H7.

For further information on safe food handling, visit the Fight Bac! Web site at www.fightbac.org. Consumers with food safety questions can call the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-800-535-4555 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time), Monday through Friday.

Founded in 1917 as the Table Supply Meat Company, Omaha Steaks tradition of excellence and reputation for fine quality spans over 80 years. Five corporations operate under the ownership of fourth and fifth generations of the Simon family. Omaha Steaks, Inc. includes Catalog and Direct Mail; OS SalesCo, Inc. includes Business-to Business Gifts and Incentives, Special Markets, Retail Stores and FoodService; OmahaSteaks.com, Inc. provides online business; and Omaha Steaks International, Inc. and Omaha Creative Group, Inc. support business activities for each affiliated corporation. Combined annual sales for affiliated companies are $223 million. The Omaha Steaks companies are premium purveyors and marketers of steaks and other frozen gourmet foods. The company offers the finest USDA-approved, grain-fed, Midwestern beef as well as appetizers, lamb, veal, pork, seafood, poultry, desserts and specialty foods along with perfectly proportioned ready-to-serve and easy-to-prepare gourmet foods. The tradition of excellence is built on the commitment to these superior products, and personalized service provided to customers continues to be the hallmark of the Company.