The meat involved in the latest ground beef recall was sold at Safeway and Sam's Club stores in Colorado, the meatpacking company confirmed Friday.
The state health department initially stated that the meat was only sold in Safeway stores, but Beef Packers Inc. said Friday that part of 825,769 pounds of ground beef being recalled was also sold at Sam's Club.
The government said the meat was originally sold with "use by" or "freeze by" dates that vary from June 5 to July 11.
But the Fresno, Calif., company that processed the meat was concerned it was still in stores as late as Thursday. The products may be linked to an outbreak of illness from salmonella.
Beef Packers said it is working with retailers to ensure that all of the ground beef subject to the recall has been removed from the meat case.
The products were distributed to Safeway stores in Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, South Dakota and New Mexico and Sam's Club stores in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming; and Unified Grocers in Southern California.
The meat in the recall ranges from 90 percent lean to 96 percent lean.
If you have meat from Safeway or Sam's Club, throw it away or return it for a refund.
Colorado health officials, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and several other state health departments have been investigating an outbreak of salmonella infections that are resistant to several commonly used antibiotics.
To date, illnesses have been identified in 11 states. The majority of cases -- 21 illnesses -- have been reported in Colorado in the following counties: Arapahoe (3), Broomfield (3), Denver (3), Douglas (1), Elbert (1), Garfield (1), Jefferson (5), Mesa (1), Pueblo (1) and Weld (2).
"We do know four people were hospitalized for a number of days, and they did recover, which is good," said Dr. Ken Gershman, from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
"We know seven other folks paid visits to the emergency departments," Gershman added.
Most people became ill during late June and early July, with the most recent illness occurring July 13. Because it can take at least two weeks for cases of illness to be reported to the state health department, it is possible additional cases may be reported, said Mark Salley, spokesman for the state health department.
Gershman said in a number of cases, people admitted they ate the ground beef raw -- putting them at a higher risk for exposure to bacteria.
This is the second large outbreak of salmonella the department has investigated since July 1. The other outbreak was linked to ground beef sold in King Soopers and City Market stores. Both outbreaks have been linked to ground beef.
The ground beef products associated with the known salmonella cases were produced on various dates ranging from June 5 through June 23, and bear the establishment number "EST. 31913" printed on the case code labels.
Symptoms Of Salmonella
Eating food contaminated with salmonella can result in abdominal cramping, diarrhea and fever. Most people infected with salmonella develop symptoms 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts four to seven days. Most people recover without treatment.
However, anyone experiencing symptoms such as severe diarrhea should contact a physician. In some individuals, diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. In rare circumstances, infection with salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses.
The very young, the elderly and people with weak immune systems are the most susceptible to foodborne illness; however, anyone can be infected with salmonella.
Tips To Prevent Salmonella
Wash hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw meat and poultry. Also wash cutting boards, dishes and utensils with hot soapy water. Clean up spills right away.
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.
Cook raw meat and poultry to safe internal temperatures before eating. The safe internal temperature for meat such as beef and pork is 160º F, and 165º F for poultry, as determined with a food thermometer.
Refrigerate raw meat and poultry within two hours after purchase (one hour if temperatures exceed 90º F). Refrigerate cooked meat and poultry within two hours after cooking.
You can call Beef Packers at 877-872-3635 for more information about the beef recall. Safeway customers can contact 1-800-SAFEWAY for more information about their specific product. Consumers with food safety questions also can contact "Ask Karen," the Food Safety and Inspection Service virtual representative available 24 hours a day at AskKaren.gov. The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from l0 a.m. to 4 p.m., Eastern time, Monday through Friday.
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