WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Excel Corp. is recalling about 190,000 pounds of fresh ground beef and fresh ground pork because of possible contamination by the potentially deadly E. coli bacteria, the Agriculture Department said Monday.
Excel, a Newnan, Ga., company produced the suspect meat on May 23 and 24, packaged it in various sizes and distributed it to Kroger stores in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina and Tennessee.
The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service said the meat bears a production date code of ''01.05.23'' or ''01.05.24.'' Each product label also bears the establishment number ''86G'' inside the USDA inspection seal.
The problem was discovered by officials in Georgia, who contacted FSIS about suspected illnesses associated with the meats. While samples tested positive for E. coli contamination, a link between the meats and the illnesses has not so far been established.
Exposure to E. coli can be fatal, with the very young, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems at the greatest risk. The bacteria also causes bloody diarrhea and dehydration.
Consumers who purchased the suspect meat should not eat it and return it to the store where it was purchased, the FSIS said.