NORTH BRANCH (WWJ/AP) – A public health alert has been issued after cases of E. coli illness have been linked to ground beef from a Michigan meat processor.

State health and agriculture officials say Wednesday that five cases have been confirmed and four probable cases reported in Lapeer, Genesee Isabella and Sanilac counties.

People who have gotten sick report that they ate the ground beef at restaurants who received it from McNees Meats and Wholesale in North Branch or they bought it directly from the company.

Michigan’s Department of Community Health says two-thirds of the people had to be hospitalized. The illnesses occurred July 18-30.

About 360 pounds of the ground beef products are being recalled.

Health officials say even infected meat can be safe to eat if it is cooked properly. For beef, that is 145 °F as measured with a food thermometer placed in the thickest part of the meat.  Consumers should also keep raw meat separate from ready-to-eat foods amd wash hands, counters, and utensils with hot soapy water after they touch raw meat. Never place cooked hamburgers or ground beef on the unwashed plate that held raw patties.

The beef recall comes just one week following the national recall of 36 million pounds of ground turkey. Wednesday, the USDA revealed a list of stores that might have sold the products.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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