The Kroger Co. is recalling an undetermined amount of ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has announced.
The products subject to recall include all varieties and weights of ground beef products bearing a Kroger label sold between May 21 and June 8 at Michigan and Columbus and Toledo, Ohio Kroger retail establishments. These ground beef products also include a sell-by date between “05/21/08” and “06/08/08.”
FSIS has confirmed that none of the affected products remain available for purchase at stores; however consumers are urged to check their refrigerators and freezers and discard or return the ground beef products for a refund.
This recall was initiated after epidemiological investigations and a case control study conducted by the Michigan and Ohio Departments of Agriculture and Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined that there is an association between the ground beef products and 32 illnesses reported in Michigan (15) and Ohio (17). The illnesses were linked through the DNA fingerprint, found in PulseNet, a database maintained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Anyone with signs or symptoms of foodborne illness should consult a medical professional.
E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration, and in the most severe cases, kidney failure. The very young, seniors and persons with weak immune systems are the most susceptible to foodborne illness.
Consumers with questions about the recall should contact the Kroger Consumer Hotline at (800) 632-6900.
As a reminder, here are some safe handling 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. Immediately clean spills.
- Keep raw meat, fish and poultry away from other food that will not be cooked. Use separate cutting boards for raw meat, poultry and egg products and cooked foods.
- Consumers should only eat ground beef or ground beef patties that have been cooked to a safe internal temperature of 160Â€F.
- Color is NOT a reliable indicator that ground beef or ground beef patties have been cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria such as E. coli O157:H7.
- The only way to be sure ground beef is cooked to a high enough temperature to kill harmful bacteria is to use a thermometer to measure the internal temperature.
- Refrigerate raw meat and poultry within two hours after purchase or one hour if temperatures exceed 90Â€F. Refrigerate cooked meat and poultry within two hours after cooking.