USDA details beef and ham recalls over E. coli and salmonella risks

The USDA has announced two different food recalls, one involving imported beef products and the other involving ready-to-eat ham. A sample of the ham product tested positive for salmonella enteritidis, according to the agency, while the boneless beef products may have been contaminated with E. coli. Though the items were packaged several months ago, the USDA says it is concerned that some of the meat may still remain in freezers.

The first recall, which was announced on April 15, comes from Olymel S.E.C/L.P. in Quebec, Canada. Around 6,800lbs of the ready-to-eat ham has been recalled because of the potential salmonella contamination discovered by the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) during routine testing.

Fortunately, there haven't been any reports of illnesses linked to the ham, which was produced in 12lb packages sealed in plastic film with a label reading 'Celebrity Extra Lean Important Ham 98% Fat Free.' Consumers who believe they may have purchased one of these products should check their freezer and compare the packaging to the identifiers listed in the recall notice.

The next day on April 16, the USDA announced that around 4,800lbs of boneless beef products imported from Australia have been recalled over possible contamination with E. coli O157:H7. As with the ham recall, this possible issue was discovered by the FSIS during a routine product sample testing — and, likewise, there haven't been any reports of illnesses related to the beef.

In this case, the beef was imported in 60lb cardboard boxes that were shipped to distributors in the US, eventually making their way to processors in Pennsylvania and New York. Though the beef was packaged several months ago, the USDA expresses concern that some of these products may still exist in freezers at distributors and processors in the US where they may end up used for food products at the consumer level.