Publix Recalls Ground Beef Following E. Coli Outbreak in Florida

E. coli is responsible for forcing a recall on ground chuck sold in Florida at Publix Super Markets after 18 people became sick. ( Multimedia Graphic Network, Inc. )

A voluntary recall has been enacted by a Florida grocery chain after 18 people reported becoming ill after eating ground chuck from the store.

Publix Super Markets Inc., a Lakeland, Fla. based grocer, voluntarily announced the recall on Aug. 30 for an undetermined amount of ground beef products made from chuck that may be contaminated with Escherichia coli O26.

The products in question were purchased by consumers from June 25 through July 31.

The ground chuck products in question include the following:

  • Ground Chuck
  • Ground Chuck Burgers
  • Gourmet Burgers (Jalapeno & Cheddar, Pimento & Cheese, Bacon & Cheddar, Bacon & Fried Onion, Blue Cheese, and Swiss & Mushroom)
  • Seasoned Ground Chuck Burgers (Badia, Mesquite, Montreal, and Steakhouse)
  • Meatballs (Bacon & Cheddar, Bacon & Fried Onion, Blue Cheese, Jalapeno & Cheddar, Swiss & Mushroom, and Spanish)
  • Meatloaf (Seasoned and Grillers)
  • Slider (Bacon & Cheddar, Bacon & Fried Onion, Ground Chuck, Blue Cheese, Jalapeno & Cheddar, and Swiss & Mushroom)
  • Stuffed Peppers

According to USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), an epidemiological investigation identified 18 case-patients, predominately from Florida, who became ill from July 5 to July 25.

“Food safety is our top priority. We have been working closely with various federal agencies as we share the common goal of maintaining food safety and public health. We urge our customers to make sure they no longer have ground chuck products purchased in the affected Florida counties from June 25 through July 31 in their freezers,” says Maria Brous, Publix media and community relations director. “Customers should dispose of the product or bring it in for a full refund.”

The ground chuck may have been purchased in the following Florida counties: Brevard, Charlotte, Citrus, Collier, DeSoto, Flagler, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Marion, Orange, Osceola, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Lucie, Sumter and Volusia.

Florida Publix stores outside of these counties as well as stores in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia are not included in this voluntary recall.

Products currently for sale in Publix stores are not part of this voluntary recall and should be considered safe for proper cooking and consumption.

The source of the contamination has not been determined.

FSIS has called it a Class 1 Recall with a “high” health risk.

E. coli can be potentially deadly causing dehydration, bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps 2–8 days (3–4 days, on average) after exposure the organism. FSIS recommends that any consumers who purchased the product to not consume it and either throw it away or return to the store where it was purchased.

All raw beef should be cooked to a temperature of 160°F to reduce the risk of any food borne illness by bacteria according the FSIS. A meat thermometer will help in determining if the food has reached a high enough temperature to kill harmful bacteria.

Publix customers who have purchased the products in question may return them to their local store for a full refund. Customers with additional questions may call the company’s customer care department at 1-800-242-1227 or visit its website at www.publix.com/contactus. For more information about food handling practices when cooking meat, please visit the Partnership for Food Safety Education’s website at http://www.fightbac.org/grill-master/.

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