beef recall

UPDATE: The California slaughterhouse that processed the recalled beef voluntarily shut down. It is trying to track down all the meat it shipped in the past year. No word yet on any plans to reopen.

Look at the meat in your refrigerators, everyone -- and we do mean everyone. This is a big one. Rancho Feeding Corporation is recalling 8.7 million pounds of beef and veal because it came from "diseased and unsound animals" that hadn't been properly inspected. This is actually an expansion of a previously announced recall of just 400,000 pounds of meat on January 13. No illnesses linked to the meat have been reported yet. But here's everything you need to know to make sure you don't fall victim to this food safety threat.

Check your beef and veal packages for a USDA mark of inspection with "EST. 527" and a case code number ending in 3 or 4. The meat was shipped between January 1 through January 7, 2014 to distribution centers in California, Texas, Florida, and Illinois. Beyond that, it's not yet clear where the meat went, to which stores or restaurants. The meat was in a variety of cuts.

The recall notice states that there's a "reasonable probability" that eating the meat could result in "serious, adverse health consequences or death."

The USDA reports that Rancho Feeding Corporation "processed diseased and unsound animals and carried out these activities without the full benefit of federal inspection." This should raise a few questions for us -- starting with why the meat wasn't inspected. It's also disturbing that the meat came from multiple diseased and unsound animals, not just one. The beef processor has not responded to reporters for comment.

Lord have mercy, how did this happen? With a mess this big, I have to think multiple parties are responsible. I hope there's an investigation so we can find out where the food safety failures happened.

Were you planning to cook or eat beef this week?


Image via KPIX/CNN