ST. PETERSBURG — A St. Petersburg wholesale meat retailer is recalling more than 6,000 pounds of fresh and frozen beef because of possible E. coli contamination, the USDA said Thursday.
Five products produced by the St. Petersburg-based Ottomanelli Wholesale Meats Inc. from June 18 through July 11 are subject to the recall. Five-pound boxes of Packers Plus Patties, 10 pound boxes of Debren Foods Inc. Beef Patties, 10 pound boxes of Nu Vista Foods Group In. Beef Patties, 10 pound boxes of Ottomanelli Beef Patties and 10 pound bulk bags of Ottomanelli Beef Patty mix are being recalled. The recall covers both fresh and frozen versions of the products and were distributed for institutional use in Florida, the USDA said.
The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service was notified of the issue after Ottomanelli tested products under its sampling program and results came back positive for E. coli.
Tommy Deitch, office manager for Ottomanelli, said the recall window spans over a month because of delays in lab testing.
Deitch said Ottomanelli conducts regular food-safety tests of its own products using Diebel Labs. Usually he said, tests sent out on a Thursday would come back the following Monday. Deitch said he’s experienced recent delays getting results back and could not contact the lab.
"We had a huge delay in the information coming back from the lab," Deitch said. "We didn’t get official notification until July 10 that they had a problem."
Representatives for Diebel Labs declined to comment on the testing, citing client confidentiality.
Deitch said Wednesday morning he’d been up all night contacting customers, most of which include "mom and pop" and smaller restaurants in the area. He said four distributors he works with were also contacted and advised to warn their customers.
Deitch said some his customers go through up to 500 pounds of meat a week. He estimates up to 5,000 pounds of the recalled meat could have already been consumed with no reported issues.
According to the USDA, people who consume the E. coli bacteria typically become ill within 2-to-8 days of consuming the organism.
"We’ve done 20 years and this is the first possible negative (test result)," Deitch said. "There have been no issues yet, but we thought it’d be in the best interest to voluntarily recall all possible product."
Daniel Figueroa IV can be reached at [email protected] Follow @danuscripts