Foodborne Illness Outbreak Database

This database provides summaries of significant food and water related outbreaks occurring since 1984 caused by E. coli, Salmonella, Hepatitis A, Campylobacter and other pathogens. Read more »

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2002 Multistate Outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 Liked to ConAgra Ground beef Sold in Kroger Grocery Stores

The Colorado Department of Health identified an outbreak of E.coli O157:H7 infections in Colorado residents. The strain of E.coli isolated from these ill persons was subsequently found to match strains of E.coli from other cases in Colorado and other states. The initial epidemiological investigation implicated ground beef purchased at Kroger's grocery stores. The ground beef was produced by ConAgra Beef Company. On June 30, independent of the outbreak, the ConAgra Beef Company issued a nationwide recall of 354,200 pounds of ground beef produced on May 31. The recall resulted from routine microbiological testing that had been conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The strain of E.coli that had been found in this hamburger matched the strain of E.coli that had been isolated from the ill persons. Subsequent to the detection of this multistate outbreak and the plant inspection, the ground beef recall was expanded nationwide. An additional 18.6 million pounds of fresh and frozen ground beef and beef trimmings were recalled. A report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's inspector general blamed both federal meat inspectors and ConAgra Beef Company for errors contributing to the outbreak. Evidence of E.coli O157:H7 contamination had been ignored since January, 2001, more than a year before this outbreak was detected.

  • Outbreak began:
  • June 2002
  • Affected Country:
  • US
  • Affected States/Territories:
  • California, Colorado, Iowa, Washington, Michigan, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming
  • Organism(s):
  • E. coli O157:H7
  • Vehicle(s):
  • Beef, Ground Beef
  • Molecular Results Available:
  • Yes
  • Test Results:
  • Unknown
  • Location(s):
  • Private Homes, Retail
  • Brand Name(s):
  • Kroger
  • Product Subject to Recall:
  • Yes
  • Total ill:
  • 28
  • Number ill by Case Definition Known:
  • Yes
  • Number Laboratory Confirmed Cases:
  • 28
  • Number Probable Cases:
  • 0
  • Number Possible Cases:
  • 0
  • Anyone Hospitalized:
  • Yes
  • Number Hospitalized:
  • 7
  • Any Deaths:
  • Unknown
  • Number Dead:
  • Unknown

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