The USDA/FSIS which is in charge of the safety of American meat and poultry, has at least one inspector on the ball. As he/she (and I hope it is a woman)was inspecting the records of a Colorado producer of beef trim he/she found a problem. A large shipment of beef trim,labelled "for cooking only," should have been sent first to a federally approved facility for the "kill" step before it went into the food supply. But no - the company's records showed that it had been sent to the wrong place - where no such treatment of meat was done. This meant that this meat most likely entered our food system loaded with bacteria.
Why? Because beef trim is the worst, and most dangerous of beef, scraped off the skeleton of the cow, and trimmed off other cuts. It is used for making hamburger meat (no wonder hamburger meat is so risky). E.coli 0157:H7 bacteria are estimated to be present in 2-3% of US cattle (the cattle do not show signs of illness, so they are not eliminated at the slaughterhouse). These bacteria easily get into meat during the slaughtering process, in spite of precautions taken and in spite of inspectors keeping a round-the-clock eye on things.
Of course, the company's recall notice makes a point of saying that no illnesses have been linked to this recalled meat as yet. But, it is very difficult to establish links with this kind of product. Good luck finding any proof - or, recalling any of the meat, for that matter. It was produced on Dec. 2, 2010. The recall took place six weeks later. And your butcher or supermarket or some prepared hamburger manufacturer - maybe several - have used it long ago to make your hamburger meat (often it is made on the premises).
I just hoped you cooked those burgers well back there in December.