Moyer Packing Company (MOPAC) today announced it is voluntarily recalling 346,700 pounds of ground beef produced on July 11, 2000, at their Souderton, Pa., facility because of possible contamination with E. coli O157:H7. No illnesses have been associated with this product.

During sampling by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), a small amount of ground beef produced on July 11, 2000 was found to contain E. coli O157:H7. MOPAC is working closely with USDA in recalling bulk ground beef products produced on that day. MOPAC quickly identified where the bulk ground beef that was produced on July 11 was shipped and is working with customers who received the product to isolate and return the meat.

"As soon as we learned there was a potential food safety situation we immediately contacted all of our customers who received product, and asked them to withdraw it from commerce," said Ella Roush, vice president of communications and planning. "Our first priority is the safety of consumers. We have a long-standing, aggressive food safety program. In our 123-year history, this is the first time we have found it necessary to undergo a recall any of our meat products."

The recalled product was sold to wholesale distributors in Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. All MOPAC customers who received the product have been notified and are assisting MOPAC to retrieve the product.

The ground beef involved in the recall was shipped in tubes, or "chubs," which are then repackaged in-store before being resold. Therefore it cannot be identified by the packaging. Consumers who purchased ground beef in these states between July 13 and July 25 that has not been consumed are advised to contact the store where they purchased it to determine if they may have received any of the product in question.

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.

MOPAC operates under the highest production standards, including a stringent Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) program -- a science-based production system designed to prevent microbial contamination. Thirteen USDA inspectors oversee daily operations to ensure compliance with federal regulations. Approximately 120 MOPAC employees are dedicated exclusively to food safety and quality.

The company was among the first meat processors to implement the strategic application of three interventions to remove bacteria, including the use of steam vacuums, carcass wash and organic acid rinse processes, and highly effective steam pasteurization. The company's commitment to food safety is backed up by their substantial investment in a state-of-the-art facility designed to maximize food safety and employee safety.

Moyer Packing Company (MOPAC) of Souderton, Pa., is a family-owned and operated beef packing and rendering business that has been in operation for 123 years. With more than 1,500 employees, MOPAC produces 330 million pounds of boxed beef, ground beef, and variety meats per year. The company also has beef and rendering operations in Elizabethville, Pa., a protein blending plant Seaford, Del., and a rendering plant in Edinburg, Va.