14 Connecticut farms affected by E. coli outbreak

Image: Shutterstock
Image: Shutterstock

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — A slaughterhouse in Massachusetts is recalling meat that may be contaminated with E. coli.

According to the Connecticut Department of Public Health, the United States Department of Agriculture has identified 14 Connecticut businesses believed to be recipients of the recalled meat, as well as dozens of businesses in nearby states.

Adam’s Farm Slaughterhouse in Athol, MA is recalling beef, veal and bison. People in several states have gotten sick, including two Connecticut residents. They both were taken to the hospital but have recovered.

News 8 spoke with the owners of Whippoorwill Farm in Lakeville. Allen and Robin Cockerline own the business, and they take the cattle to Adams Farm to be slaughtered. That’s where the meat is processed and packed. They say Adams Farm emailed them to let them know about the recall.

“It’s kind of scary,” said Allen Cockerline. “It’s your reputation.”

Whippoorwill Farm provides meat to several restaurants, as well as the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville. Only the meat that went to the school was recalled, and Adams Farm has taken it back.

“Because we’re a small business, as soon as our name gets brought up you wonder what the reaction’s going to be,” said Robin Cockerline.

They checked the USDA lot number on their boxes and labels. Fortunately, none of the meat to be sold in their store was included in the recall, and they are confident it’s safe.
However, the USDA isn’t taking any chances.

“The USDA actually came here, went into our boxes and freezers to make sure all the numbers were verified,” said Allen Cockerline. “I’m glad that they’re doing that. It’s just got to be monitored. People have to feel safe about their food supply and this is one way of doing it.”

He says if any of the meat in their store was even remotely associated with the contamination, they’d be getting rid of it. He says he’s surprised this happened, but that he’ll continue using Adams Farm.

“Adams Farm is 115 miles from here so there are a few that are closer,” he said. “But I really trust the standards they have kept.”

Currently, the Connecticut Department of Agriculture is working with farmers’ markets to determine if any beef products have contaminated meat from the slaughterhouse.

Consumers and retailers who still have beef, veal, and bison products from local farmers’ markets or farms in Connecticut are encouraged to check the USDA plant code number on the label. The USDA website has a list of all the numbers included in the recall on its website. If you’ve recently bought meat that you’re unsure about, you can check to see if the number on the label is on the list.

If you don’t have the original packaging, you can contact the farm or retailer and ask whether or not the product has been included in the recall.

Related Content: Health officials: Multistate E.coli outbreak sickens 7

Maple View Farm in Granby is another business believed to have received the recalled meat. A spokesperson released a the following statement on Friday:

Today, September 30, 2016 at 11:39AM, we were notified that our meat processed at Adams Farm Slaughterhouse in August, 2016 was involved in a voluntary recall. If you have any of our beef with the lot number 121461, please either throw it away, or contact us to return it for a refund. This recall does not affect any other products sold in our Farm Store or at any Farmer’s Market.
We are devastated by this loss. It is not only a huge loss financially, it is a huge blow to our farming philosophy. We value every life on our farm and don’t want to see even one wasted. We recognize that the reason you buy your meat from our farm is because of the quality of our product. We know you trust how the animals live their lives and how their lives end. This recall is not the result of how our meat was raised. Our product has not tested positive for E. coli.”

If you have any further questions, please call the Connecticut Department of Public Health at (860) 509-7270.

News 8 reached out to Adams Farm and to the USDA for a comment and we are waiting to hear back from them.

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