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E. coli illnesses reported in Northeast; company recalls hamburgers

E-coli-illnesses-reported-in-Northeast-company-recalls-hamburgers

<b>USDA:</b> <b><font color=red>'HEALTH RISK: HIGH'</font></b><br> <img src=http://www.toledoblade.com/assets/gif/weblink_icon.gif><b><font color=maroon> READ:</font></b> <a href=" http://www.fsis.usda.gov/News_&_Events/Recall_040_2007_Release/index.asp" target="_blank"> <b>USDA recall web page - <font color=green><b>includes product identification information</b></a>

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ALBANY, N.Y. - A meat company is voluntarily recalling some of its hamburgers after a cluster of illnesses in the Northeast caused by E. coli bacteria, officials said Tuesday.

At least six people have fallen ill in New York, and three were hospitalized, officials said. All are recovering, the state Health Department said.

The recall affects boxes of frozen hamburgers distributed by Elizabeth, N.J.-based Topps Meat Co. Contaminated burgers were found in one victim's home freezer by health officials, said agency spokeswoman Claudia Hutton.

Topps is "fully cooperating with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to make sure all customers are informed and the potentially contaminated products are properly disposed of," Topps spokeswoman Cortney McMahon said.

The recall affects 331,582 pounds of frozen beef patties that were distributed in the New York City area and nationwide, the USDA said. They carried the number "Est. 9748" inside the USDA mark of inspection, and were produced on June 22, July 12 or July 23, the USDA said.

The recalled products included certain 10-pound boxes of Butcher's Best 100% All Beef Patties; certain 10-pound boxes of Kohler Foods burgers; certain 10-pound boxes of Sand Castle Fine Meat; some 2-pound boxes of Topps 100% Pure Ground Beef Hamburgers; and some 3-pound boxes of Topps 100% Pure Ground Beef Hamburgers.

The USDA did not immediately return a call Tuesday night.

E. coli causes intestinal illness that generally clears up within a week for adults but can be deadly for the very young, elderly people and those with compromised immune systems.

Symptoms can include severe stomach cramps, bloody diarrhea and, in extreme cases, kidney failure.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com

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