Warning Over Contaminated Beef

By Farrah Johnson

THE Bahamas Agricultural Health and Food Safety Authority has advised the public of a recall of raw beef packaged at the Aurora Packing Company, Inc that may be contaminated with e-coli.

According to BAHFSA’s advisory, on May 22 the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a recall for over 62,000 pounds of raw beef due to a “potential e-coli contamination after random sampling”.

The packaged meat has “the establishment number, “EST 788”, inside the USDA mark of inspection, and the recall includes over 40 products, mostly steak (rib-eyes, ribs and brisket cuts),” the statement read.

BAHFSA urged local retailers and wholesalers to remove the product from their freezers and also asked customers to discard the raw beef products if they are found within their possession.

BAHFSA also encouraged consumers to be vigilant when preparing and consuming meat products. It recommended using running water to rinse fresh fruits, vegetables and conch; using ice to keep selected items cold (40℉ or below); ensuring food is not kept out of the refrigerator for more than two hours after preparation; washing hands under warm running water for 20 seconds whenever exposed to possible contamination; and keeping raw foods separate from fresh, ready to eat foods to avoid cross contamination.

The authority also recommended and using a food thermometer to ensure meats are cooked to the correct internal temperature at home and at outdoor events.

Sick, elderly or pregnant women, including children under five should not consume food that may be at risk. Persons are asked to contact a health professional if they believe anyone may have consumed contaminated food and further, retain such food to be sampled by the health official.

BAHFSA noted that the Ministry of Health’s Surveillance Unit has not received any reports of illness related to this recall and added that none have been confirmed by the USDA.

Consumers with questions and concerns are encouraged to contact BAHFSA at bahfsa@bahamas.gov.bs.


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