Consumer Alert: Agriculture & Health Commissioners Issue E. coli Alert in Ground Beef Hamburgers

Albany, N.Y. (September 25, 2007) - New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker and New York State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D. today warned consumers not to eat certain Topps 100% Ground Beef Hamburgers due to possible contamination with E. coli 0157:H7.

The ground beef patties come in two sizes: Topps 100% Ground Beef Hamburgers, 20 Quarter Pounders with the product code SELL BY JUN 22 08 EST 9748 sold in five pound boxes and marked keep frozen; and Topps 100% Ground Beef Hamburgers, 12 Quarter Pounders with the product code SELL BY JULY 23 08 EST 9748 sold in three pound boxes and marked keep frozen. The Ground Beef Patties are manufactured by Topps Meat Company LLC, Elizabeth, New Jersey 07207. They were distributed to grocery stores throughout New York State.

The contamination was discovered after consumers became ill in Albany and Rensselaer Counties after eating hamburgers. The E. coli 0157:H7 strain in the consumers matched an E. coli strain found in the remaining Topps hamburgers in their home freezer. Laboratory tests were conducted by the New York State Department of Health, using a type of DNA fingerprinting.

Follow-up investigations are being conducted by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and the New York State Department of Health. The Health Department is also investigating a number of other cases of E. coli infection. In addition, USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service are also investigating additional products and codes.

E. coli 0157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacteria. Symptoms of illness associated with the bacteria include severe abdominal cramps, followed by watery and bloody diarrhea. Other symptoms include vomiting and nausea accompanied by a low-grade fever. Anyone developing these symptoms should contact a doctor immediately.

Although most healthy adults can recover from E. coli 0157:H7 poisoning completely within a week, some people can develop a form of kidney failure called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS). HUS is most likely to occur in young children and the elderly. The condition can lead to serious kidney damage and even death. Consumers who have any of the aforementioned Topps 100% Ground Beef Hamburgers, should return them to the place of purchase.

CONTACT:
Claudia Hutton, Department of Health, 518-474-7354, ext. 1
Jessica Chittenden, Department of Agriculture and Markets, 518-457-3136