The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a recall of over 66 tons of meat from Cargill Meat Solutions on Wednesday, Sept. 19 due to possible E.Coli contamination. According to the USDA’s press release, the contaminated meat came from “the chuck portion of the carcass” and was produced and packaged on June 21 of this year.
People started becoming sick in relation to the now-recalled meat between July 5 and the 25th, according to the report. Of the 18 people who became sick, one person has died. Per CNN, these reports came in from four states: Florida, Massachusetts, Tennessee, and Colorado.
This comes only a month after Cargill recalled 25,000 pounds of ground beef due to a separate E.Coli risk, according to Thrillist. That recalled product was produced and packaged on August 16 of this year.
To put into perspective how much meat we’re talking about, the 66 tons (or, 132,606 pounds) recalled are roughly equal in weight to 10 fully-grown African bush elephants. Cargill’s recalled meat is the same weight as 45 Honda Civics. 66 tons is the equivalent of 31,201,411 cats. What we’re saying is: that’s a lot of meat.
Obviously, people should take the recall seriously, especially since the lion’s share of affected products are ground meat. UPROXX’s E.S. Huffman spoke a food poisoning expert in 2016 about why ground meat is more susceptible to food-borne disease:
“The reason ground products are more problematic and need to be cooked more thoroughly is that any bacteria that’s on the surface of the meat can be ground inside of it,” he writes. Needle tenderized steak is especially bad, as the process of piercing the surface with needles or slicing it with knives can transfer surface bacteria to the center of the meat.
It’s hard to come back from such a broad E.Coli outbreak, as we’ve seen with Chipotle’s very public struggle with E.Coli contamination in 2015 and 2016. And, to be frank, it should be: E.Coli causes all manner of gastric distress and can even damage your intestines—if not outright kill you. So, you know, if you think you may have Cargill in your fridge or freezer, check out the full list of recalled items to avoid the worst.