WASHINGTON – Twenty-one people in 16 states have been infected in recent days with a potentially lethal strain of E. coli bacteria, after consuming beef in restaurants supplied by the same Oklahoma meat company, federal officials said.
The outbreak spurred the company, National Steak and Poultry, to voluntarily recall 248,000 pounds of beef Dec. 24. The products, which range from steaks to sirloin tips, were packaged in October and shipped to restaurants, hotels and institutions nationwide, according to the company.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has only a partial list of restaurants that received the potentially tainted beef, including two chains, Moe’s and Carino’s Italian Grill, primarily in the West and Midwest.
Nine of the 21 sickened have been hospitalized, the USDA reported. The department has identified cases in six states – Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, South Dakota and Washington.
The agency said the contamination appears to have begun with tainted beef used for chopped steak that was “co-mingled” with other products in the plant.