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Kansas meatpacker recalls beef on contamination issues



Thu Aug 1, 2013 10:17am EDT

(Reuters) – A Kansas meatpacker has recalled 50,100 pounds of ground beef that may be contaminated with E. coli bacteria, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service said.

The USDA said late on Wednesday that routine monitoring had confirmed the presence of E.coli O157:H7 in the meat produced by the National Beef Packing Co of Liberal, Kansas. It said there had been no reports of illness.

The potentially deadly bacterium can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration and, in the most severe cases, kidney failure. The very young, the elderly and people with weak immune systems are the most susceptible to foodborne illness, the USDA said.

The products were produced on July 18 and shipped in 40-pound to 60-pound cases to retailers, wholesalers, and food service distributors nationwide.

The recalled meat carries the number “EST. 208A” inside the USDA mark of inspection, the department said.

The news had a negligible impact on Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures early Thursday.

“It’s nothing. It’s so small compared to what we produce and nobody was sickened,” said K&S Financials analyst Jack Salzsieder.

“Packers are careful about what they do. Even if there was the slightest hint of a problem, they’d recall it,” he said.

USDA data for the week ending July 27 showed the industry produced 508.4 million lbs of beef and 14.5 billion lbs year to date.

At 8:35 a.m. CDT (1335 GMT), CME live cattle for August delivery gained 0.150 cent at 121.600 cents per lb. October was at 125.600 cents, or up 0.125 cent.

(Reporting by Jane Sutton in Miami and Theopolis Waters in Chicago; Editing by John Wallace and Sofina Mirza-Reid)