Important Beef Recall Info
USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service recall release -- includes info on identifying contaminated beef
The ConAgra Beef Company is recalling 19 million pounds of ground beef products. The company says the fresh and frozen meat from its Greely, CO, plant may be contaminated with the deadly E. coli bacteria.
The Department of Agriculture was called in to investigate, after 18 people in Colorado, South Dakota, and Wyoming got sick from the beef.
"The USDA's investigation at this particular meat processing facility is ongoing," said Ann Veneman of the Department of Agriculture. "Our goal is to determine what happened and how to ensure public health and safety."
The Chatham and Effingham County Environmental Health Department says you're at a much greater risk of contracting E. coli from ground beef, that's why it's important to cook it thoroughly.
Environmental health director James Drinnon told us, "E. coli can't get in a solid steak, but inside of ground beef is mixed with the beef itself, so it can be internal. It can be inside the hamburger patty itself."
You can protect yourself by cooking your hamburgers to 165 degrees.
"Many people like their hamburgers medium rare or rare, and they're running a great risk of possibly getting E. coli," Drinnon continued, "because when you have the rare hamburger, the internal temperature is ideal for the E. coli bacteria to grow and flourish."
The USDA is urging consumers who have the contaminated meat to return it to the store where they bought it, or throw it out--see the USDA links above for details on which beef was recalled.