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U.S. military commissary officials on Tuesday added “Mike’s 20 Seasoned Beef Patties” to a list of products recently recalled because the meat could be contaminated with the potentially fatal E. coli bacteria.

More than 21 million pounds of frozen ground beef sold under different brands by the Topps Meat Co. have been recalled since Sept. 25, some of which was sold in commissaries in South Korea and Japan, U.S. Forces Korea health officials and Japan commissary officials said Wednesday.

Defense Commissary Agency food safety officials pulled the Mike’s patties from shelves on Tuesday, according to DeCA’s Web site.

The 106th Medical Detachment inspected all ground beef products in U.S. Army Garrison Red Cloud, formerly known as Area I, and found 16 boxes of recalled Topps hamburgers, according to a Wednesday memo from Capt. Claudia Luna, 2nd Infantry Division preventive medicine officer.

Anyone who bought Topps frozen beef at the Camp Casey commissary with “Est. 9748” inside the USDA inspection mark; production dates between Sept. 25, 2006, and Sept. 25, 2007; and sell-by dates between Sept. 25, 2007, and Sept. 25, 2008, should immediately return it, Luna said.

Information on Topps meat in other areas of South Korea was unavailable Wednesday afternoon, according to USFK spokesman Lt. Col. Wayne Perry.

Topps Meat Co. products subject to recall are no longer being sold worldwide at DeCA stores, according to the DeCA Web site.

Consumers should take E. coli-related illness very seriously, said Camp Casey doctor Capt. Michael Dann.

“It could be potentially life-threatening,” Dann said. “At the very least, it will make you sick for a day or two.”

The beef was pulled from the shelves at the Yokota Air Base commissary, employee Joseph Wilson confirmed.

Customers there should destroy the product and bring the label to the store for a full refund, he said.

On Okinawa, signs at the Camp Foster Commissary warned customers not to eat certain Topps products, including meat with sell-by dates in June and July.

The New York Department of Health first found the E. coli O157:H7 virus in Topps ground beef after a spate of illnesses in the Northeast.

Health officials are now investigating 25 illnesses in Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania, according to DECA.

The intestinal bacteria causes abdominal pain, cramping, bloody diarrhea and vomiting.

About 5 percent to 10 percent of those infected with the bacteria develop hemolytic uremic syndrome, which can lead to kidney failure and death, Luna said.

Topps ground beef also is sold in the U.S. under the Mike’s, Sam’s Choice, Pathmark and Shoprite brand names.

Stars and Stripes reporters Bryce Dubee and Will Morris contributed to this report.

The recalled products ...

The following four items were sold at commissaries worldwide and recalled due to possible E. coli contamination:

“Mike’s 20 Seasoned Beef Patties” previously listed on Sept. 26 as “Topps 100% Pure Ground Beef Hamburgers,” 20 quarter-pounders, five-pound boxes (UPC: 074701-00110).“Topps 100% Pure Ground Beef hamburgers,” 6 oz. (pub burgers), three-pound boxes (UPC: 07470100045).“Topps 100% Pure Ground Beef Hamburgers,” quarter-pounders, five-pound boxes (UPC: 074701-00055).“Topps 100% Pure Ground Beef Hamburgers,” 12 quarter-pounders, three-pound boxes (UPC: 074701-00025)A full list of recalled products sold at U.S. stores is available at www.toppsmeat.com.

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