SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 133
August 22, 1997
|FROM:||Richard T. La Pointe
Superintendent of Public Instruction
|SUBJECT:||Hudson Foods Beef Product Recall|
As most of you are probably aware, US Department of Agriculture (USDA) investigators have found evidence of possible hazards to public health from the E. Coli 0157:H7 bacterium found in certain Hudson Foods commercial beef products from their plant in Columbus, Nebraska. A national recall has been issued for products from this plant. I am writing to inform you of this matter and to pass along the information that we have to date. Our School Nutrition staff have been in touch with both the USDA and the Virginia Department of Agriculture to determine what can be done to safeguard our public schools from exposure to contaminated beef products. We have been informed that none of the USDA food commodities contains the contaminated beef. However, this accounts for only a portion (approximately 20 percent statewide) of the beef products that schools use. The remaining amounts are commercially purchased. I strongly recommend that you notify all appropriate staff to determine if any Hudson beef products have been purchased for use in your schools. They especially should be looking for Hudson Foods brand frozen preformed patties with Establishment Number 13569 printed inside the USDA inspection seal. Division Superintendents August 22, 1997 Page 2 If this product is found, it should be removed from schools immediately. USDA has advised that such cases should be treated like any other unacceptable food purchased commercially. This means that the product should be returned to the appropriate supplier and a reimbursement should be requested. Hudson Foods is also notifying all of its customers to immediately stop using its products from the Nebraska Plant. Our Virginia Department of Agriculture is working with USDA representatives to determine where, if at all, this product may have been distributed in Virginia. As for now, we do not have any further information to pass along to you. If we do get information that will assist you, we will distribute it to you as soon possible. Although the information is incomplete at this time, I wanted you to be informed of the issue so that you can take whatever precautions are prudent and responsible to protect students. For some of you, school has not opened so the threat to students is significantly minimized; however, some school divisions have begun the school year so this issue should be given immediate attention. If you have any questions about this issue, the attached information contains a list of contacts. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. RTL/dt Attachments c: School Food Service Directors/Contacts Residential Child Care Institutions Contacts Concerning Hudson Foods Beef Recall For questions about the recall, you may call the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-800-535-4555. Media inquiries to the Hudson Foods Company should be directed to John White at 501-636-1100. USDA news releases and media advisories are available on the Internet. Access to the USDA Home Page on the World Wide Web is obtained at: http://www.usda.gov Questions may also be referred to the Department of Education's School Nutrition staff at 804-225-2074.