The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is currently investigating a multi-state E.coli outbreak that has made at least seven people sick—six of whom have been hospitalized. The link between the cases of the foodborne illness appears to be contaminated ground beef from HelloFresh meal kits.
What to know about the E.coli outbreak
Of the seven people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli (O157:H7), the six who have been interviewed so far all reported eating ground beef from a HelloFresh meal kit. They range in age from 17 to 69 years, and developed symptoms between June 8 and Aug. 17, according to data from the CDC.
It is likely that more people have been infected in the outbreak, but not all cases are treated and/or reported. Plus, it typically takes three or four weeks to determine whether a person who experienced symptoms of eating food contaminated by E.coli is part of an outbreak.
How to tell if your ground beef may be contaminated
The contaminated ground beef behind the current E.coli outbreak has been found in some HelloFresh meal kits that were shipped to consumers from July 2 to July 21, 2022, the CDC reports. So, if you popped the beef in the freezer after receiving it in July, you should check it now.
The products in question include the following information on their packaging:
- Labeled “GROUND BEEF 85% LEAN/15% FAT”
- Packed in 10-oz. plastic vacuum-packed packages
- “EST.46841” inside the USDA inspection mark
- Either “EST#46841 L1 22 155” OR “EST#46841 L5 22 155” on the side of the packaging
What to do if you have the contaminated beef
At this time, HelloFresh has not issued a recall for these ground beef products, but the CDC is advising anyone who received the company’s meal kits in July and froze any of the ground beef, to check their freezer to see if they have this lot of ground beef. If you do, throw the beef out immediately, and wash any surfaces and/or containers it may have touched, using hot and soapy water.