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California organic beef producer recalls meat over E. coli concerns

January 3, 2011 | 10:47 am

Raw ground beef There’s nothing that dampens your New Year's appetite like a food-safety recall, particularly one for an organic ground-beef product.

Federal officials announced Monday that First Class Foods Inc., an organic beef producer based in Hawthorne, has recalled 34,373 pounds of organic ground beef and hamburger patties due to concern that they may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7.

E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration, kidney failure or, in the most severe cases, death.

There have been no reports of illness connected to these products, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service  and the company. The bacterium was found during a routine company test of its facilities, according to the FSIS.

The recalled products include:

• 16-ounce packages of Nature’s Harvest Organic Ground Beef Brick;
• 16-ounce packages of Organic Harvest Organic Ground Beef Brick, sold singly and in three-packs;
• and 16-ounce packages of Nature’s Harvest Ground Patty, which contains four 4-ounce patties.

The ground-beef products were packaged on Dec. 7 and 16 and shipped to retailers in California, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Washington state and Wisconsin. Company officials said that consumers should look for the mark “EST 18895” and the so-called Julian dates -– or the date in which the meat was packed -– of 10341 and 10350. Such products should not be consumed.

Consumers with questions or concerns can call (888) 843-8016 for more information.

-- P.J. Huffstutter

Photo: Deli tray of ground beef. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

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