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Outbreak News

4 people in Arizona sickened by E. coli

Jessica Coomes

The Arizona Republic

Jun. 6, 2007

Four Arizonans have become ill with E. coli, possibly from contaminated ground beef that has been recalled by a California plant.

Nationally, 11 people have gotten sick in the outbreak, which prompted United Food Group LLC to recall 75,000 pounds of ground beef shipped to distribution centers in Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon and Utah.

Arizona health officials could not confirm which local stores the meat was shipped to, but they are urging people to get rid of certain types of ground beef with "EST. 1241" printed on the packages.

Of the four Arizona E. coli cases, two are in Maricopa County, one is in Yavapai County and another is in Navajo County. Two of the people, a child in Maricopa and an adult in Yavapai, were hospitalized but are doing fine, and information is not available on the other two, said Don Herrington, head of epidemiology and disease control for the Arizona Department of Health Services.

The recalled food has a sell-by date of May 6, 2007, a freeze-by date of May 7, 2007, or a produced-on date of April 20, 2007, printed on the packages. It was sold under the brands Moran's All Natural, Inter-American Products and Stater Bros. and can be returned to the store where it was bought.

If you are freezing beef without the original wrapper and are not sure if the food is contaminated, Herrington said that he recommends cooking the meat to an internal temperature of 160 degrees "so that there's no pink in it. That would kill the E. coli bacteria, and it would be safe to eat."

It was unclear how much of the 75,000 pounds of recalled beef came to Arizona, Herrington said, though Arizona has more E. coli cases in this outbreak than any other state.

Arizona reported 79 E. coli cases in 2006 and 44 cases in 2005. This year, from January to April, 13 cases have been reported. For questions, call the Department of Health Services at (602) 364-4562.

Reach the reporter at (602) 444-6848 or jessica.coomes@arizonarepublic.com.

More on this outbreak: United Food Group E. coli Outbreak

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