The USDA has recalled more than 60,000 pounds of ground beef products believed to be contaminated with E. coli from the National Beef Packing Co. LLC.
The agency said 60,424 pounds of ground beef produced on July 23 and July 25 and since distributed nationally could contain an adulterated form of E. coli O157:H7.
The announcement, released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service, says certain packages of ground beef, marked "Est. 262," could possibly have been shipped to distributors across the country for processing or delivery under different brand names. But Winn-Dixie Stores Inc., Publix Super Markets Inc. and Kroger Co., all in the Southeast, are the only grocery chains to have taken the possible contaminated meat off their shelves.
There have been no reports of illness or death linked to the contaminated meat.
The recall arose after the Ohio Department of Agriculture traced back the origin of meat which tested positive for bacteria to the National Beef Packing Co., based in Dodge City, Kan.
This strain of the E. coli virus, O157:H7, can lead to bloody stool or diarrhea, dehydration, and possibly renal failure.
As a precaution, the FSIS urges consumers to safely prepare their meat products at a temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit and to not judge whether or not a meat is fully cooked by color, but instead use a thermometer.
The FSIS also warns that anyone who has symptoms of E. coli infections should see a doctor immediately and those who have already purchased contaminated meat should return it to the stores or contact the company directly.