CINCINNATI, Ohio, July 1, 2008 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture has informed The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) that Nebraska Beef, based in Omaha, Neb., has been identified as the supplier of ground beef products linked to E. coli illnesses in Michigan and central and northern Ohio.
The illnesses were reported between May 31 and June 8. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have not reported any additional illnesses related to this outbreak.
Kroger has expanded the voluntary recall the Company initiated last week for Kroger stores in Michigan and in central and northern Ohio (Columbus and Toledo areas).
Based on the latest information from the USDA, Kroger is expanding the recall to include ground beef products in Styrofoam tray packages wrapped in clear cellophane or purchased from an in-store service counter from the stores described below.
Dillons stores told 13 News Thursday that the only item they have sold that is part of the recall is PS Natural Ground Beef with sell by dates July 11th through July 21st. The beef is sold as pre-packaged case-ready in a 91 percent lean variety. If you have this product, return it to a Dillons store for a full refund or replacement.
For the total recall, Kroger says there are various “sell by” dates on the ground beef being recalled due to different Nebraska Beef production dates.
The following chart explains the range of “sell by” dates that customers should check:
Fred Meyer May 21-July 5
QFC May 21-July 5
Kroger stores May 21-July 3 *
(*except Kroger stores in Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, and Knoxville, Tenn. and Kroger’s Mid-Atlantic division, which includes stores in North Carolina, Northeastern Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. Kroger stores in Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and Knoxville, Tenn. are not involved in the recall of ground beef in Styrofoam trays or from in-store service counters.)
Kroger Mid-Atlantic May 19-June 6
Fry’s May 21-July 3
Ralphs May 21-July 3
Smith’s May 21-July 3
Baker’s May 17-June 4
King Soopers June 20-July 3
City Market June 20-July 3
Customers who shop at Hilander, Owen’s, Pay Less, and Scott’s should follow the “sell by” dates listed above for Kroger stores.
In addition to the ground beef described above, Kroger is recalling Private Selection Natural ground beef sold in 16 oz. packages that were in the self-service meat case. The “sell by” dates for this product is July 11 through July 21, 2008. The product was available at all Kroger stores (including Kroger Mid-Atlantic and stores in Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and Knoxville, Tenn.) and Dillons, Fred Meyer, Baker’s, Smith’s and Fry’s.
What Customers Should Do:
Kroger is asking customers to carefully check the ground beef they have at home in their refrigerators and freezers. If they have any products covered in this recall, they should return the product to a store for a full refund or replacement.
What Kroger Is Doing:
Kroger has expanded the recall due to new information provided by the USDA. This information links product produced by Nebraska Beef to the illnesses. As a precaution, Kroger is removing all ground beef supplied by Nebraska Beef during the dates provided by the USDA.
The following items are not included in this recall: ground beef sold in sealed tubes in one, three or five-pound packages and frozen ground beef patties sold in the frozen food section of its stores.
Kroger has already begun notifying customers about this recall by placing signs in stores in meat departments. Kroger is also using its register receipt notification system that alerts customers about recalls of products they may have purchased.
Kroger has instructed every store involved in the recall to discard the ground beef products in question and thoroughly clean and sanitize all equipment used to prepare ground beef for sale.
Consumers who have questions about the recall may contact Kroger toll-free at (800) 632-6900.
Consumers are reminded that proper handling, storage and cooking of ground beef offers the best protection against food-borne illness. According to the USDA, when ground beef is thoroughly cooked to an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees, any harmful bacteria are destroyed and the ground beef is safe to consume.
For more information, please visit www.kroger.com/recalls.