Adams Farm Slaughterhouse in Athol is recalling beef, veal, and bison after seven people from four states, including three from Massachusetts, were infected with the E.coli bacterium that was traced back to the facility, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Saturday.
Other people confirmed to have been sickened include two in Connecticut, one in Pennsylvania, and one in West Virginia. Five of the people have been hospitalized, the CDC said in a statement.
The recalled products were shipped to farmers’ markets, retail stores, and restaurants in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and eastern New York, the statement said.
The illnesses were reported from June 27 to Sept. 4. The packaging and inspection dates ranged from July to August, the CDC said.
An Adams Farm official said the slaughterhouse moved swiftly to comply with the Department of Agriculture, which reported the multistate outbreak on its website Saturday.
“We became aware of the problem on Friday afternoon,” Ed Maltby, the general manager of the slaughterhouse, said in an interview Saturday night. “We’ve been working with the USDA to try and narrow down the cause of the contamination.”
“We want to do anything possible to prevent any spreading of illness,” he added.
The company believes the bad products could be traced to a few hot days in August when the farm “may not have compensated for the heat,” Maltby said.
“We’ve narrowed it down to two days in production,” he said.
Maltby said the company is surprised by the size of the recall, which includes whole carcasses to ground beef and veal products, according to the CDC.
“What we are aghast about is the breadth and scope of the USDA recall. We’re talking about two and a half months of production,” Maltby said.
Some of the products might also have been shipped to neighboring states such as Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York. Some consumers might have also have the recalled meat frozen in their homes, the CDC statement said.
Maltby said the farm has spent the last 24 hours reaching out to customers. They also plan to notify customers by mail, he said.
“We’ll be writing a letter to each of our customers, to let them know this is no reflection on their product,” Maltby said. “And [to make sure] they understand that we will stand by them.”Alexandra Koktsidis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @akoktsidis.