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UPDATE: Ohio E. coli scare compels Tyson to recall ground beef

Wednesday, September 28, 2011 | 5:47 p.m. CDT; updated 10:10 a.m. CST, Monday, November 14, 2011

CINCINNATI — Tyson Fresh Meats Inc. is recalling about 131,300 pounds of ground beef because a family in Ohio fell ill after eating meat that was contaminated with E. coli, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported Wednesday.

Tyson produced the affected meat at its plant in Emporia, Kan., on Aug. 23, the USDA said in a news release.

Four children became ill after eating the meat with their family in Butler County, Ohio, in the second week of September, said Butler County Health Department director Pat Burg. A 9-year-old child was hospitalized for about 10 days with severe diarrhea, said Burg, who declined to release the family's name.

Ground beef from the family's home tested positive for the bacteria. No other cases have been reported in the southwest Ohio county, Burg said.

The Ohio Department of Health confirmed that two Butler County siblings received medical treatment after becoming sick from E.coli, while other two children reported to be ill didn't get medical treatment, spokeswoman Tessie Pollock said.

The recall involves beef sold as Kroger brands at Kroger Co. supermarkets; Butcher's Beef at Food Lion supermarkets; and generic beef sold to Save-A-Lot, Spectrum Foods, Supervalu and the Defense Commissary Agency, company spokesman Gary Mickelson said.

The family told health officials that they bought the beef at a Kroger supermarket.

Cincinnati-based Kroger spokesman Keith Dailey said the ground beef in question would have been taken off store shelves on Sept. 12 because of when it was produced. He said Kroger tracked beef to three geographic divisions where it was distributed and will have in-store signs notifying customers of the recall and details of the recalled beef.

"We encourage our customers to check their freezers and refrigerators," Dailey said. Kroger loyalty card holders who bought the beef will be notified by email or telephone, and their cashier receipts will automatically print out recall information.

The Kroger divisions are:

  • Cincinnati-Dayton, which includes Kroger stores in northern Kentucky;
  • Delta, which includes Memphis and western Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi; stores in Murray and Paducah, Ky., and Poplar Bluff, Mo.; and,
  • Central, with stores in Illinois and Indiana that include some local banners such as Food 4 Less in Chicago.

The Butcher's Beef brand meat was shipped to Food Lion stores in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Virginia and West Virginia and to Bottom Dollar Food stores in North Carolina, the company said in a news release.

Food Lion encouraged its customers to check their freezers for the product, with UPC code (725439922241) and return it to the store for a full refund.

The products being recalled include:

  • 5-pound packages of Kroger-brand ground beef packed in 40-pound cases, with a product code of D-0211 QW, which was distributed in Tennessee and Indiana;
  • 3-pound packages of Butcher's Brand beef packed in 36-pound cases with the code D-0211 LWIF, which was distributed in North and South Carolina; and,
  • 3-pound packages of generic labeled beef packed in 36-pound cases with a product code D-0211 LWI, which was distributed in Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.

The beef, all 73/27 lean to fat ratio, had a "best before" date of Sept. 12 and the number 245D inked on the packages.

Tyson's news release said that the pre-packaged ground beef went directly into retail meat cases. Most of the product has already been consumed, but consumers should return or discard any recalled beef.

South Dakota-based Tyson Fresh Meats is a subsidiary of Tyson Foods Inc. of Springdale, Ark.


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