Customers who recently purchased HelloFresh meal kits should avoid preparing them, as the ground beef in the kits might be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. The products are no longer available for purchase. That’s why there’s no recall in place for the HelloFresh meal kits. But you still might have these HelloFresh meal kits in your fridge or freezer.
The US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a public health alert, warning people of the risks associated with the ground beef in the kits.
HelloFresh meal kits warning
The FSIS released the public health warning this week, with the announcement available at this link.
The HelloFresh meal kits were shipped to consumers from July 2nd to July 21st, 2022. The following identifiers will help you determine if your HelloFresh kits are part of the recall-like action:
- 10-oz. plastic vacuum-packed packages containing “GROUND BEEF 85% LEAN/15% FAT” with codes “EST#46841 L1 22 155” or “EST#46841 L5 22 155” on the side of the packaging
- “EST.46841” inside the USDA mark of inspection
The agency explains that it’s investigating an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state public health partners. Raw ground beef is the likely source of the outbreak.
Traceback information revealed that multiple case-patients received ground beef from establishment M46841, which is part of the HelloFresh meal kits. The FSIS says the investigation is ongoing.
E. coli symptoms
E. coli O157:H7 is a bacteria that can cause a deadly illness. Symptoms can appear 2-8 days after consuming product that contains the pathogen. Patients may experience dehydration, bloody diarrhea, and abdominal cramps.
Most people will recover within a week, but some might experience complications. A dangerous adverse reaction is called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which is a type of kidney failure. Symptoms include easy bruising, pallor, and decreased urine output. Children under five and older adults are at risk.
That said, the FSIS doesn’t mention how many people got sick after consuming the HelloFresh meal kits.
Separately, the CDC only lists a single outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 that it’s investigating. The outbreak covers 97 cases, including 43 hospitalizations. The first case appeared on July 26th.
However, the CDC does not mention these HelloFresh meal kits in its report. Romaine lettuce from Wendy’s restaurants in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania is believed to be the cause of this outbreak.
What you should do
The FSIS is concerned that people might still have HelloFresh meal kits in their freezers. That’s why it’s urging buyers not to eat the products. Instead, you should throw these meal kits away.
Furthermore, people who think they’ve experienced symptoms consistent with an E. coli infection should contact a medical professional.
Finally, make sure you go over the HelloFresh meal kit health warning at this link. You’ll find contact information for the FSIS and HelloFresh.
As for the E. coli outbreak the CDC is investigating, you’ll find all the relevant information at this link.