A USDA food safety inspection has prompted a recall of more than 60,000 pounds of ground beef sold at four major supermarket chains in the Southeast.
USDA inspectors found E. coli bacteria in samples of ground beef supplied by National Beef Packaging Co. of Dodge City, Kan. There have been no reports of illness due to consumption of the tainted beef.
Officials say the ground beef recall affects products sold mainly in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Tennessee. But the meat was also sent to several distributors and may have been repackaged for sale nationwide.
Each of the grocery store chains have asked customers to check their refrigerators and freezers. If found, customers should return the beef to stores for a full refund or a replacement.
For example, Kroger lists the packages that may contain the contaminated meat:
On the Publix recall list, are meatballs, Salisbury steak, stuffed peppers, Mesquite seasoned chuck patties, meatloaf and other beef products with "sell by" dates of July 25 through Aug. 12. The Publix beef products were sold at stores in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, and Tennessee.
At press time, Winn-Dixie had no information about the beef recall on their corporate website. But the Examiner.com in Atlanta listed the following:
Products subject to the Winn-Dixie recall have "sell-by" label dates from 7/31/11 - 8/12/11 and can be identified as follows:
-- "Winn-Dixie Ground Chuck," UPC code 20170000000
-- "Winn-Dixie Ground Chuck Family Pack (FP)," UPC code 29127700000
-- "Winn-Dixie Ground Chuck Patties," UPC code 20170100000
-- "Winn-Dixie Ground Chuck Patties Family Pack (FP)," UPC code 29128200000
Products affected by this recall were sold in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.
Consumers with questions may contact Winn-Dixie Guest Services toll free at 1-866-WINN-DIXIE.
Last August, Cargill issued a much larger recall – for 36 million pounds of ground turkey, due to concerns over contamination by salmonella.
The US Department of Agriculture's Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) collects data on recalls, and offers advice to consumers on how to safely prepare raw meat - fresh and frozen. It advises: "only consume ground beef that has been cooked to a temperature of 160 degrees F. The only way to confirm that ground beef is cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria is to use a food thermometer that measures internal temperature."