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Ground Beef Worth a Check

July 3, 2008

By Dawn House, The Salt Lake Tribune

Jul. 3–Before you fire up the barbecue this Fourth of July, check the ground beef to make sure it hasn’t been recalled.

Smith’s Food & Drug Stores has removed from shelves in its Utah supermarkets some ground beef products that have been linked to illnesses caused by the E. coli bacteria.

The chain’s parent firm, Kroger Co., recalled meat obtained from one of its suppliers, Omaha-based Nebraska Beef Ltd., traced to illnesses in 35 people in Michigan and Ohio from May 31 to June 8.

There have been no reports of illness in Utah.

A spokeswoman for Kroger Co., the nation’s largest supermarket chain, said today that as a precaution all ground beef supplied by Nebraska Beef has been removed from its affiliates in about 20 states.

The company does business in Utah under the Smith’s Food and Drug and Smith’s Marketplace names.

Nebraska Beef has recalled from wholesalers and other processing companies nearly 532,000 pounds of ground beef produced on five dates between May 16 and June 24.

Utah consumers are asked to check for ground beef packaged in plastic foam trays wrapped in clear cellophane with sell-by dates May 21 through July 3; ground beef from the in-store meat counter with sell-by dates May 21 to July 2; and 16-ounce packages of private-selection natural ground beef, with sell-by dates July 11 to July 21. If found, return the beef to Smith’s for a refund.

In addition, consumers using their Smith’s Fresh Values cards will be notified of the alert at the check-out stand if they had earlier purchased any of the implicated meat.

“Ground beef in stores today comes from other suppliers not involved in the recall,” Kroger spokeswoman Meghan Glynn said Wednesday.

The recall does not include ground beef sold in sealed plastic tubes in 1-, 3- or 5-pound packages or frozen ground beef patties sold in Smith’s stores.

Symptoms of E. coli infection can include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting and fever. Most people recover within five to seven days, federal officials said.

The Associated Press contributed to this story

SAFETY TIPS:

–Wash hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw meat and poultry.

–Wash cutting boards, dishes and utensils with hot, soapy water and immediately clean spills.

–Keep raw meat, fish and poultry away from other food that will not be cooked.

–Eat ground beef or beef patties cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

–Color is NOT a reliable indicator that ground beef has been adequately cooked.

–Refrigerate raw meat and poultry within two hours after purchase or one hour if temperatures exceed 90 degrees.

–Refrigerate cooked meat and poultry within two hours after cooking.

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Questions?

–Call Nebraska Beef at 402-733-0415 or go to www.fsis.usda.gov.

–Contact Kroger toll-free at 800-632-6900 or online at www.kroger.com /recalls.

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Copyright (c) 2008, The Salt Lake Tribune

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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