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National Steak and Poultry Recalls 248,000 Pounds of Beef Potentially Contaminated With E. coli

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An Oklahoma-based meat company recently recalled approximately 248,000 pounds of beef on suspicion that the meat may be contaminated with E. coli. The company, National Steak and Poultry, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, announced the recall on Christmas Eve. National Steak and Poultry alleges that this is its first recall in its 30-year history.

According to the company’s website, the beef products could be responsible for outbreaks of illnesses related to E. coli. The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service first became aware of the problem while investigating illnesses potentially related to E. coli contamination in Colorado, Michigan, Iowa, Kansas, Washington and South Dakota. Specifically, the USDA believes that non-intact steaks shipped to the six states may have caused the E. Coli outbreaks.

According to several sources, the "non-intact" steaks were mechanically tenderized–a process whereby small needles or blades pierce the surface of the meat. Food safety experts warn that if meat, such as beef, contain E. coli bacteria on the surface, the tenderizing process helps to move that bacteria into the interior of the meat where it is more difficult to remove bacteria during the cooking process. The steaks were shipped to various restaurants in each of the six states but none of the restaurant names’ have been publicized.