Government announces nationwide ground beef recall

Monday, July 1, 2002

WASHINGTON -- ConAgra Beef Co. of Greeley, Colo., is voluntarily recalling approximately 354,200 pounds of fresh and frozen ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli bacteria, the Agriculture Department announced Sunday.

The department's Food Safety and Inspection Service said the labels on all the products being recalled bear the establishment code "EST.969" inside the USDA seal of inspection. It was produced on May 31 and distributed to retail, food service and institutional establishments nationwide. the problem was discovered through microbiological traceback sampling, the inspection service said.

"Because of the potential hazard of foodborne illness from consumption of meat products contaminated with harmful bacteria such as E. coli ... I urge consumers who have purchased the suspect product not to eat it and return it to the place of purchase," said Linda Swacina, acting FSIS administrators. "USDA is informing the public so consumers who may have purchased and stored the product in their refrigerators or freezers will know to check," she said.

She said the government has received no reports of illness associated with the meat being recalled.

E. coli can cause serious illness and sometimes death. Symptoms include chills and bloody diarrhea.

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