Southern California meatpacker United Food Group LLC expanded a recall to include 5.7 million pounds of fresh and frozen beef that may be contaminated with the potentially deadly E. coli bacteria, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Saturday.
Fourteen people in six Western states have fallen ill after eating the beef but all have recovered, the department said.
The beef was butchered and shipped in April, and is no longer on store shelves.
“However the products could be in consumers’ freezers and it is important that consumers look for and return these products if they find them,” the department said in a statement on its Web site.
United Food recalled 75,000 pounds of beef on June 3 and an additional 370,000 pounds three days later.
“The recall is being expanded out of an abundance of caution following a positive test of fresh ground beef subject to this recall provided by a patient in Arizona,” the statement said.
The ground beef products subject to recall were produced between April 6 and April 20 and were shipped to retail stores in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. They were sold under brand names Moran’s All Natural, Miller Meat Company, Stater Bros., Inter-American Products, Inc., and Basha’s.
The grocery stores affected included Albertson’s, Basha’s, Grocery Outlet, Fry’s, “R” Ranch Markets, Save-A-Lot, Save-Mart, Scolari’s Wholesale Markets, Smart and Final, Smith’s, Stater Bros., Superior Warehouse and Trader Joe's.
The labels of the products subject to recall bear the establishment number “EST. 1241” inside the USDA mark of inspection or printed on the package.
All of the products bear a use by/sell by date between April 15 and May 07, a freeze by date between April 23 and May 7 or a production date between April 6 and April 20. The frozen ground beef patty products bear a sell by date between August 6 and January 20, 2008, the department said.
Another meat recall
On Friday, Tyson Fresh Meats Inc. recalled more than 40,000 pounds of ground beef shipped to Wal-Mart stores in 12 states after samples tested at a Sherman, Texas, plant showed signs of E. coli contamination.
No illnesses had been tied to the Tyson products. Springdale-based Tyson Foods Inc. said the recall was not related to contaminated ground beef distributed by United Food Group LLC.
The recalled Tyson products were sent to Wal-Mart stores in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas, Tyson said.
Symptoms of E. coli include stomach cramps that may be severe and diarrhea that may turn bloody within one to three days. E. coli sometimes can lead to complications including kidney failure.
Customers with questions about the recall can call United Food Group’s hot line at 1-800-325-4164. Those with recalled products should either throw the product away or return to point of purchase for a refund.