It comes amid an outbreak of E. coli-related sickness affecting 156 people in 10 states, all after eating ground beef. The newly added states include Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, and Mississippi. Those infected range in age from younger than 1 to 83 years old, with a median age of 19.
Florida just joined the E. coli outbreak with three cases while Georgia, along with Kentucky and Tennessee, has been battered from the start. Fifty percent of them are female.
No deaths have been reported but 20 people have been hospitalized after they were infected with the strain E. coli O103 since March 1, the CDC said on its website.
The USDA said the raw ground beef products were produced on Mar 26, Mar 29, Apr 2, Apr 5, Apr 10, and Apr 12. However, that beef has not conclusively been determined as the cause of the patients illnesses.
"Given the numbers of people sickened withE. col iO103 and the number of states involved, I expect the scope of the recall to expand in the coming hours", said food safety attorney Bill Marler, who made his reputation on E. coli cases in the 1990s.
Unopened intact ground beef collected from a restaurant where numerous people sickened in the outbreak ate tested positive for E coli O103, but so far there is no definitive link between the product that tested positive and the ongoing E coli outbreak.
A meat thermometer should reach at least 160 degrees fahrenheit for cooked ground beef.
The CDC recommends thorough handwashing, washing fruits and vegetables, cooking meat thoroughly and avoiding cross-contamination in food preparation areas as ways to prevent E. coli illness. Orange, Fla., and Norcross, Ga., which sold it to restaurants. And though patients infected with O103 can develop diarrhea and vomiting that can be lengthy and severe, most recover in a week and HUS is uncommon. An E. coli O103 infection is more hard to diagnose than the more common E. coli O157:H7 infection because most clinical labs do not test for non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing E. coli infections.