E. Coli recall of Athol slaughterhouse meats extends to Vineyard

The recall is for beef, veal, and buffalo products processed by Adams Farm Slaughterhouse in Athol.

The Grey Barn and Farm farmstand in Chilmark.

On Saturday, September 24, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a Class 1 recall notice for meat products processed on at least 27 days between July 21 and September 22, at Adams Farm Slaughterhouse located in Athol.

A Class 1 recall is defined as “a health hazard situation where there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death.”

The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) released a list of retail locations that received beef, veal, and buffalo products that have been recalled by Adams Farm Slaughterhouse. The list includes 14 locations in Connecticut, 49 in Massachusetts, 10 in New Hampshire, 8 in Vermont, 1 in Rhode Island and 1 in New York. The Grey Barn and Farm in Chilmark is on the list.

The fact that it is on the list does not mean that Grey Barn sold any of the suspect meats or that any meat sold could cause illness.

“This list may not include all retail locations that have received the recalled product or may include retail locations that did not actually receive the recalled product,” FDIS said in a press release.

FSIS recommended consumers use the product-specific identification information, available at fsis.usda.gov to check meat or poultry products in their possession.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) is currently investigating four cases of E. coli infection in Massachusetts residents who reported consuming beef processed by Adams Farm during the period in question, according to a press release.

“Consumers who have purchased these products and still have them, fresh or frozen, should discard them or return them to the place of purchase,” DPH said.

Eric Glasgow, owner of Grey Barn Farm, said that Adams Farm processed animals raised at his farm. He said even before he was contacted by the slaughterhouse he was made aware of the recall and pulled any remaining product from the shelf. Acknowledging the difficulty of contacting customers in a self-serve operation, he said anyone who has purchased any veal from the affected lot is welcome to return it for a full refund.

“E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause dehydration, bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps 2–8 days (3–4 days, on average) after exposure to the organism. While most people recover within a week, some develop a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). This condition can occur among persons of any age but is most common in children under 5 years old and in older adults. It is marked by easily bruised or grayish skin and decreased urine output. Persons who experience these symptoms should seek emergency medical care immediately. No cases of HUS have been reported in this investigation,” DPH said.

“The DPH recommends that people should always consume only fully-cooked ground meat, regardless of place of purchase, including organic, grass-fed, and locally-sourced beef. Cooking meat to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit will kill the bacteria.

Anyone with signs or symptoms of foodborne illness should consult their healthcare provider, their local board of health, or the DPH Epidemiology Program at 617-983-6800, which is available 24/7.”