Company Recalls 500,000 Pounds of Beef

WASHINGTON, DC-The nation's largest beef processor has recalled an estimated 500,000 pounds of ground beef suspected to be contaminated with a potentially fatal strain of E. coli. The news comes just days before the Labor Day holiday, when many Americans traditionally celebrate with a barbecue.

IBP, Inc. officials say beef made August 7 at their Dakota City, Nebraska plant may be tainted. A routine sample taken by a US Department of Agriculture (USDA) official came back positive for E. coli</I. O157:H7. This strain is one of the deadliest forms of food poisoning, with symptoms including bloody diarrhea, dehydration, and kidney failure in those with compromised immune systems.

The most difficult aspect of this recall is IBP meat is generally sold to retailers in 36 states and the District of Columbia. From there, the meat is often distributed in five and 10-pound tubes to grocers and restaurants, who repackage the meat to be sold to consumers.

The mean has no brand name, product code or production lot numbers. There is little to identify this beef as the recalled and potentially fatal meat. Consumers are being urged to ask their grocer whether the meat they have purchased recently could be included in the recall.

Tyson Foods is expected to complete its acquisition of IBP on September 28. The company will become the largest meat distributor, with an estimated annual revenue of $25.7 billion.