New Jersey Burger Plant Recalls More than 13,000 Pounds; No Illness

June 10, 2008

A small hamburger plant recalled 13,275 pounds of hamburger after tests showed possible contamination of a batch that was kept at the operation, officials said.

No illnesses from the potentially deadly E. coli bacteria have been reported from products shipped by Dutch’s Meats Inc. of Trenton, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service said.

The company sells to customers and restaurants in the Trenton area, including some in Pennsylvania, but not to individual consumers, vice president Al Granaldi said Monday.

Granaldi said he has already been calling customers and has so far arranged for the return of 2,000 pounds.

“Most of this stuff probably will be back by the end of the week, the way it’s looking now,” he said.

The batch that tested positive for E. coli 0157:H7 was sampled on June 3 and had been kept at the plant to await results, Granaldi said. As a precaution, the company recalled production from May 27 to June 6, he said.

The recalled products includes 10-pound vacuum-packed plastic bags of ground beef and 10-pound boxes of patties. The package date is stamped on the label, and the products have the establishment number “EST. 5424” inside the USDA mark of inspection.

Dutch’s Meats is a grinding plant, and the deadly strain of E. coli does not originate in grinding plants. It is harbored mainly in the intestines of cattle, but can get into meat through improper butchering and processing.

The source of the contamination has not yet been determined, but is believed to be one of three suppliers, Granaldi said.

Thorough cooking, to at least 160 degrees internal temperature, can destroy the bacteria.

Dutch’s Meat has 10 employees and produces 250,000 pounds of ground meat a year, he said.

Its recall is tiny compared to the nearly 22 million pounds recalled in the fall by the now-defunct Topps Meat Co. of Elizabeth, one of the largest U.S. beef recalls. An E. coli outbreak traced to Topps last summer and fall sickened at least 40 people in eight states.


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