Statement: CDC finds E. coli outbreak caused by tainted ground beef

Media Contacts

Consumers should be extra careful until source is determined

U.S. PIRG Education Fund

PHILADELPHIA– The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced today that it suspects ground beef caused an outbreak of E. coli-induced infections that has sickened more than 100 people in six states: Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and Indiana. The CDC has not asked for a recall because, at this point, no distributors, brands or suppliers have been identified as the source.

Adam Garber, U.S. PIRG Education Fund Consumer Watchdog, issued the following statement:

“Here we go again. This outbreak is an-all-too-often reminder that more needs to be done to protect our food system. E. coli is life-threatening and we should be deeply troubled that we cannot pinpoint the source of this infected meat after a month of sicknesses. As a result, we can’t recall any tainted beef still on the market or in refrigerators because we can’t identify it. That’s a scary thought at the dinner table, local restaurants or backyard barbecues.

“Until the source is identified, everyone should forgo that medium rare steak and make sure they thoroughly wash their hands and cooking surfaces to best protect the health of family, friends, customers and themselves.

“We appreciate the CDC’s efforts to find the source of this tragic outbreak. But as we outlined in our report, How Safe is Our Food?, we shouldn’t have to endure this type of situation in the first place. We need to improve how we track food through the supply chain so we can quickly find where infections happen and more effectively recall contaminated food. Until then, we continue to put every American at risk.”