AMERICAN Foods recalls 500,000 pounds of beef that may be contaminated with E. coli

Monday, August 27th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) _ American Foods Group is recalling more than 530,000 pounds of ground beef in 17 states because the food may be contaminated with a strain of the deadly E. coli bacteria.

No illnesses have been associated with the beef, the Green Bay-based company said in a statement Sunday night.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture found a sample of the E. coli strain known as 0157:H7 while testing the meat produced Aug. 2.

The ground beef was distributed to the following states: Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.

It has a sell-by date of Aug. 19, 2001, and a label with the USDA establishment number 410. The ground beef was shipped to retailers in three-, five- and 10-pound packages, but may have been repackaged at the retail level.

``Since the sell-by date has passed, none of the product should be in commerce,'' Carl Kuehne, American Foods' owner and chief executive officer, said in a statement. ``People should check their freezers and should not eat any of the product affected by this recall.''

Anyone with the recalled meat can return it to the store where they purchased it for a full refund.

E. coli O157:H7 is a bacteria that can cause serious illness and sometimes death, especially in children and the elderly, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Symptoms include chills and bloody diarrhea.

Last week, American Foods reached a settlement with two women from Eau Claire and an Illinois family after more than 40 people in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa became ill last fall with a food-borne illness traced to ground beef sold at Cub Foods, which gets its meat from American.

American Foods remains a defendant in two other lawsuits linked to the E. coli outbreak last fall, Gary Hansen, an attorney for American Foods, said last week.