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Why did 32,000 pounds of food get recalled? There might be diarrhea-causing toxins

There's a possible toxin contamination in "America's Favorite." USDA
There's a possible toxin contamination in "America's Favorite." USDA
Published Apr. 29, 2018

Some sturdy toxins might be in two production days of Armour Ground & Formed Sliced Dried Beef, so 32,479 pounds have been recalled.

As explained in the USDA-posted recall notice posted Saturday night, he problem is "a possible processing deviation that may have led to staphylococcal enterotoxin and clostridial toxin contamination."

A UDSA Food Safety and Inspection Service officer found the problem Friday while doing a food safety assessment at the production facility.

There are 14 lots involved in this recall. The 2.25-ounce jars have lot Nos. 0707011Y11, 0708011Y11, 0709011Y11, 0710011Y11, 0711011Y11, 0715041Y11, 0716041Y11, 0717041Y11, 0718041Y11 and 0719041Y11. The best by dates on the jars are JAN-07-21, JAN-08-21, JAN-09-21, JAN-10-21, JAN-11-21, APR-15-21, APR-16-21, APR-17-21, APR-18-21 and APR-19-21.

The 4.5-ounce jars have lot Nos. 0723011Y11, 0724011Y11, 0725011Y11 and 0722041YW1. The best by dates on the jars are JAN-23-21, JAN-24-21, JAN-25-21 and APR-22-21.

This was a Class 1 recall, defined by the USDA as "This is a health hazard situation where there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death."

Anyone with jars in this recall should throw them out or return them to the store for full refund. Anyone with questions can call Pinnacle Foods at 888-299-7646.

Staphylococcal enterotoxins are toxic proteins that, according to The 18th edition of "Medical Microbiology" can "withstand exposure to 100 degrees Celsius (boiling water temperature) for several minutes."

The effects of eating such toxins, as described by University of California-San Francisco's Dr. James Marks in "Microbial Forensics:" "There is a one to four-hour incubation period after oral ingestion. Usual symptoms include nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramping, and diarrhea. Symptoms typically last up to 20 hours. With severe intoxication, there can be profound dehydration due to loss of fluids, shock, respiratory failure, and cardiovascular collapse. Approximately 15 percent of patients require hospitalization, with a five percent fatality rate, usually in the very young or the very old."

Foodsafety.gov says of clostridial toxins "According to some estimates, this type of bacteria causes nearly a million illnesses each year. Cooking kills the growing C. perfringens cells that cause food poisoning, but not necessarily the spores that can grow into new cells. If cooked food is not promptly served or refrigerated, the spores can grow and produce new cells. These bacteria...grow quickly at room temperature, but they cannot grow at refrigerator or freezer temperatures."

Diarrhea and tummy aches strike within six to 24 hours and last anywhere from one day (most common) to two weeks.

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