Ground beef sold at Kroger, Walmart, Winn Dixie, Weis, and other stores may be contaminated with E. coli. USDA officials are concerned that some consumers may still have these products in their freezers.
Here’s what you should know.
Kroger Ground Beef E. coli O26 Alert
On April 27, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Services (USDA FSIS) issued a public health alert for ground beef sold at Kroger for risk of contamination with E. coli O26. The agency issued an alert instead of requesting a recall from Empire Packing, a division of JBS Foods, becasue the affected products were no longer on the market when the problem was discovered.
The ground beef in question was produced on December 16 and 17, 2021, and sold under the brand names Private Selection, Kroger, and Laura’s Natural. At least one person who ate the ground beef reportedly became ill. That consumer, who did not get tested for E. coli., brought a package of ground beef with a “use or freeze by date” of December 24, 2021, to a third-party laboratory testing that determined it was contaminated with E. coli O26.
The ground beef products included in the alert have “Est.31805/002” in the mark of inspection. They include:
- 1-lb. foam trays containing “ALL NATURAL LAURA’S LEAN BEEF 92% LEAN 8% FAT GROUND BEEF.”
- 1-lb. foam trays containing “Kroger GROUND BEEF CARNE MOLIDA 96% LEAN 4% FAT.”
- 1-lb. foam trays containing “Kroger GROUND BEEF CARNE MOLIDA 85% LEAN 15% FAT.”
- 1.3-lb. foam trays containing “PRIVATE SELECTION ANGUS BEEF 90% LEAN 10% FAT GROUND SIRLOIN.”
- 1-lb. foam trays containing “Kroger GROUND BEEF CARNE MOLIDA 93% LEAN 7% FAT.”
- 1-lb. foam trays containing “Kroger GROUND BEEF CARNE MOLIDA 80% LEAN 20% FAT.”
- 1-lb. foam trays containing “ALL NATURAL LAURA’S LEAN BEEF 92% LEAN 8% FAT GROUND BEEF.” The product is labeled with 350/(timestamp)/Est.31805/002, with the timestamp ranging from 0602 to 1721.
Ground Beef E. coli O103 Recall at Walmart, Weis, and Winn Dixie
On April 25, Lakeside Refrigerated Services of Swedesboro, N.J issued a recall for ground beef potentially contaminated with E. coli O103. The recalled ground beef products were sold at Walmart, Weis, Winn Dixie, and other stores.
The problem was discovered by USDA FSIS during routine testing.
The recalled ground beef was produced from February 1, 2022, to April 8, 2022, and distributed under the brand names Thomas Farms, SEG Grocers Naturally Better, Weis By Nature, Tajima Kobe Ground Beef, and Marketside Butcher. The recalled products all have “EST. 46841” inside the USDA mark of inspection.
Shiga Toxin-Producing E. coli (STEC)
E. coli O26 and E. coli O103 belong to a group of bacteria that produce Shiga-toxins which are poisonous to humans. Most STEC illnesses reported in the U.S. each year are caused by seven E. coli serotypes: O157:H7, O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, and O145.
Symptoms of a STEC infection usually develop within three days of exposure and include abdominal cramps and diarrhea that can be bloody. About 7 percent of E. coli patients develop a complication called hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS). Anyone concerned about an illness associated with these products should contact a healthcare provider.