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ELIZABETH, N.J. -- Topps Meat. Co. here widened a nationwide recall Saturday to 21.7 million pounds of ground beef products, after as many as 25 people were reported to have fallen ill from suspected E. coli bacteria in eight states.
There are currently 25 illnesses under investigation in Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania, said the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service Saturday. An investigation carried out by the New York Department of Health in coordination with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, preceded the original recall of Sept. 25.
The original recall, issued last Tuesday for almost 332,000 pounds of Topps beef, was not only the first in the 67-year history of the company, but also one of the bigger meat recalls of recent years, the FSIS told The New York Times.
Topps’ voluntary recall includes a broad variety of frozen hamburger patties and other items manufactured over the past year and bearing a “sell by” date or “best used by” date of between Sept. 25, 2007 and Sept. 25, 2008, as well as the USDA designation EST 9748. Among the beef being recalled are packages bearing grocery retailers’ labels including Pathmark, Shoprite, and Sam’s Choice, USDA said. Other brands involved in the recall are Kohler Foods, Mike’s, Rastelli’s Fine Foods, Roma-Topps, Sand Castle Fine Meats, and Westside.
A Florida teenager and her parents have already sued Wal-Mart and Topps for selling the contaminated meat, alleging the teen fell ill and suffered kidney failure as a result of consuming contaminated ground beef.
Although Topps said it believes most of the products covered by the recall have already been eaten, the company instructed consumers to check their freezers and throw out any of the recalled items they find.