Ground beef health alert: Products may be contaminated with E. coli, FSIS warns

U.S. food safety officials are warning Americans to check their freezers for certain ground beef products over potential E. coli contamination.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a public health alert on Saturday for ground beef products from Greater Omaha Packing Co. Inc.

"The problem was discovered by the establishment while conducting an inventory of product that was on hold because it was found positive for E. coli O157:H7," the FSIS alert stated. "The company notified FSIS that they inadvertently used a portion of the contaminated beef to produce ground beef products that they subsequently shipped into commerce."

These items were shipped to food service institutions and retail locations nationwide, the FSIS said.                           

A recall was not issued because the products are no longer available for purchase. However, the agency said it was concerned that some products may still be in consumers’ and food service institutions’ freezers. 

Here’s what to know:

Ground beef warning over E. coli 

The raw ground beef items were produced on March 28, 2024, according to the FSIS.

The products have a "Use/Freeze by" date of April 22, 2024, and packaging date of "032824." 

The impacted ground beef products have establishment number "EST. 960A" inside the USDA mark of inspection. 

Click here for a full list of products that are subject to the public health alert.

There have been no confirmed reports of illness tied to the products, according to the agency.

"Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them and food service institutions are urged not to serve these products," the FSIS stated. "These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase."

E. coli bacteria live in the guts of humans and animals. Some strains, including E. coli O157:H7, produce dangerous toxins that can lead to serious illness and even death in humans. 

Ground beef can be a common source of E. coli outbreaks, as well as leafy greens.

Symptoms of E. coli food poisoning include a fever higher than 102 degrees Fahrenheit, diarrhea for more than three days, severe vomiting, dehydration and dizziness.

This story was reported from Cincinnati. The Associated Press contributed.