The Centers for Disease Control, U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Canadian Food Inspection Agency are investigating a multi-state outbreak of E. coli that has been linked to ground bison products.
On Tuesday, July 16, Northfork Bison Distributons, Inc. announced that it is recalling bison produced between Feb. 22 and April 30 this year. The recalled products were sold to distributors as ground bison and bison patties, which were referred to as bison burgers or buffalo burgers.
The recalled items were also sold to retailers in four-ounce burger patties. There have been a total of 21 people infected by the outbreak of E. coli in seven states, including nine in New York and one in Connecticut.
Symptoms of E. coli include stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting for several days. Others may endure a minor fever.
"Some illnesses last longer and can be more severe. Infection is usually diagnosed by testing of a stool sample. Vigorous rehydration and other supportive care is the usual treatment; antibiotic treatment is generally not recommended," according to the USDA. "Most people recover within a week, but, rarely, some develop a more severe infection. Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure, is uncommon with STEC O103 infection.
"HUS can occur in people of any age but is most common in children under 5 years old, older adults and persons with weakened immune systems. It is marked by easy bruising, pallor and decreased urine output."
In interviews, ill people answered questions about the foods they ate and other exposures in the week before they became ill. Of nine people with available information, six (67 percent) people reported that they ate or maybe ate ground bison. Ill people ate ground bison in burgers from several different restaurants or prepared ground bison at home.
According to the CDC:
- Consumers who have recalled ground bison burger patties in their home should not eat them. Throw them away or return them to the store for a refund. Even if some of the recalled patties have been eaten and no one got sick, do not eat them.
- Wash and sanitize places where recalled ground bison products were stored: countertops and refrigerator drawers or shelves.
- When ordering at a restaurant, ask that ground bison burgers be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 160°F.
- Restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell recalled ground bison and should check freezers and storage for recalled products. Restaurants and retailers should check with their supplier to determine if their ground bison has been recalled.
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