On October 31, 2009, Fairbank Farms issued a massive recall of it’s beef due to concerns over contamination.
Based in Ashville, N.Y., the company recalled over 545,000 pounds of ground beef.

According to USDA records, Fairbank Farms issued recalls of it’s ground beef/hamburger in September, 2007 ( 884 pounds ) and May of 2008 ( 22,481 pounds ). Those recalls were due to E Coli concerns and possible plastic contamination.

Two people on the east coast have died, 28 have been sickened and 16 remain hospitalized to date, and the CDC ( Centers for Disease Control ) are concerned that this beef may be the source of the E Coli outbreak. Two cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome have also been associated with this beef.

The hamburger was sold by several popular chains, including ACME, BJ’s, Ford Brothers, Giant Food Stores, Price Chopper, Shaw’s, and Trader Joe’s, the company says. Each package has the number “ET. 492″ on the label.

While the recall is confined to the east coast at the moment, be aware that Fairbank Farms is sold under many other brand names and the recall could be expanded.
You need to look for sell-by dates of Sept. 19 through Sept. 28 on all of your beef products, including meatballs, meatloaf mix, etc.

Remember to always cook ground beef to an internal temperature of 160 degrees or more. This will kill any bacteria mixed in by the grinding process.

The following list was obtained from here.

Acme Markets. Lancaster Brand Ground Beef 90/10, 1-pound and 2-pound trays. Lancaster Brand Extra Lean Ground Beef 96/04, 1-pound tray. Wild Harvest Natural Angus Ground Beef 85/15, 1-pound tray.

BJ’s Wholesale Club/Burris. Fresh Ground Beef Patties 85/15, 5-pound tray. Lean Ground Beef 93/07, 3-pound and 5-pound trays. Meatloaf and Meatball Mix, 2.5-pound tray.

Ford Brothers Fresh Ground Beef Patty 80/20, 3-pound tray.

Giant Food Stores. Giant Meatloaf & Meatball Mix, 1-pound tray. Giant Nature’s Promise Ground Beef, 1-pound tray. Giant Nature’s Promise Ground Beef Patties, 1-pound tray. Giant Extra Lean Ground Beef 96/04, 1-pound tray.

Price Chopper. Price Chopper Meatloaf & Meatball Mix, 1-pound and 2.5-pound trays. Price Chopper Extra Lean Ground Beef 96/4, 1-pound tray. Price Chopper Fresh Ground Beef Chuck for Chili 80/20, 1-pound tray.

Trader Joe’s. Brick packs with sell-by dates of 10/06/09 or 10/07/09): Trader Joe’s Butcher Shop Fine Quality Meats Ground Beef 85/15, 1-pound brick pack, and Trader Joe’s Butcher Shop Fine Quality Meats Ground Beef 80/20, 1-pound brick pack. Packaged Products with sell-by dates of 9/19/09 to 09/28/09: Trader Joe’s Butcher Shop Fine Quality Meats Beef Patty 85/15, 1-pound tray, and Trader Joe’s Butcher Shop Fine Quality Meats Ground Beef 96/4 Extra Lean, 1-pound tray.

Shaw’s Supermarkets. Shaw’s Fresh Ground Beef 93/7, 1-pound and 2-pound trays. Shaw’s Fresh Ground Beef 80/20, 1-pound, 2-pound, 3-pound trays. Shaw’s Fresh Ground Beef 75/25, 1-pound and 3-pound trays. Shaw’s Fresh Ground Sirloin Beef Patties 90/10, 1.3-pound tray. Shaw’s Fresh Ground Round Beef Patties 85/15, 1.3-pound tray. Shaw’s Fresh Ground Beef Patties 80/20, 1.3-pound tray. Shaw’s Fresh Ground Beef Patties Family Pack 80/20, 3-pound tray. Shaw’s Angus Ground Beef 85/15, 1-pound tray. Shaw’s Fresh Ground Round Beef 85/15, 1-pound, 2-pound, 3-pound trays. Shaw’s Natural Ground Beef 90/10, 1-pound tray. Shaw’s Natural Ground Beef 85/15, 1-pound tray. Shaw’s Fresh Ground Sirloin 90/10, 1-pound, 2-pound and 3-pound trays. Meatloaf & Meatball Mix, 1-pound tray.

Other products. Cases of 10-pound Fairbank Farms Fresh Ground Beef Chubs. “These products had a sell date of 10/3/09, 10/4/09 or 10/5/09, but will likely not bear those sell-by dates on their package labels,” according to the processor. “These products were distributed to retail establishments in Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia for further processing.”

You can’t be too careful folks. Check your ground beef now! In my opinion, 3 recalls in 2 years for a variety of reasons indicates a problem within Fairbank Farms. I could be wrong, but I can’t help but wonder how a company goes from less than 1000 pounds recalled to over half a million in such a short time.

For more information, call the USDA hotline at 1-888-674-6854, the Fairbank Farms consumer hotline at 1-877-546-0122

What are your thoughts on this latest food recall? Personally, I’m thinking vegetarian is an option, but then I remember we go through this with vegetables all the time lately. There has to be a solution to all these recalls.
This massive 545,000 pound recall of beef from Fairbank Farms is a bit overwhelming, especially when you factor in the E Coli problem.

Perhaps these major food producing companies need to take the same precautions you and I do when preparing food. Be careful, be clean, and be diligent when handling any food!