According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, E. coli is a type of bacteria found in the intestinal tract and excrement of animals and humans. There are many different strains of the bacteria, and the particular strain that was detected in the recalled beef, O157:H7, is known to cause severe infection in humans. The possible presence of this strain is what prompted the USDA to issue a high (or Class I) product contamination alert and recall 28,356 pounds of ground beef.
This particular strain of E. coli affects the intestinal tract causing moderate to severe illness anywhere from two to eight days after consuming contaminated products. Symptoms may include bloody diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, and possible kidney failure in severe cases. Anyone experiencing symptoms should seek immediate medical assistance.
While reminding consumers not to consume recalled products, the FSIS reminds consumers to always "safely prepare their raw meat." The USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline (1-888-674-6854) can also provide information on food safety and current recalls. Consumers are encouraged to contact their healthcare provider with any questions regarding specific symptoms, and to double-check their fridge and freezer for any recalled ground beef products.