Victims of E. Coli Contamination May Die, or Suffer Permanent Organ Damage

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USDA says recall by New Jersey meat processor is the largest in a decade; resulting illnesses can cause permanent organ damage or even death

Anyone who has suffered recent severe fevers and diarrhea should be aware that one of the largest recalls of potentially contaminated beef in the past decade is currently under way nationally, Attorney Jeffrey Hensley warned today.

Anyone who believes they have become ill as a result of E. coli contamination should consult an attorney, he said.

Nearly 30 people from 27 states have become ill, some seriously, after eating ground beef that had been contaminated with the E.coli bacteria, according to the USDA. Federal food inspectors say the meat originated in a beef processing plant in Elizabeth, N.J.

Topps Meat, which owns the plant, has recalled 21.7 million pounds of frozen hamburger patties from across the country. People became ill after eating the Topps Meat products in Florida, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Ohio, Maine and Indiana, the USDA said.

"Those who get sick from E. coli contamination can suffer permanent kidney failure and can even die," Hensley said. "The danger now is that even though a recall is under way, contaminated meat can still be sitting in peoples' freezers."

Frozen hamburger patties should be discarded if there is any question about their safety, Hensley said. Also, ground beef should always be thoroughly cooked - through cooking is the best defense against E. coli contamination.

"The U.S. Department of Agriculture must take its meat inspection duties very seriously if American families are to maintain their confidence in the quality of the food that they buy and feed to their children," Hensley said.


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