Health alert issued for ground beef products over possible E. coli O26 contamination

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service issued a public health alert on Wednesday over concerns that specific ground beef products may be contaminated with E. coli O26.

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A recall was not requested because the products are no longer available for purchase, the FSIS stated in a news release. The ground beef products were distributed to warehouses in Oregon and Washington and sold at retail locations, the agency said.

The announcement comes two days after the USDA recalled 120,872 pounds of ground beef that may be contaminated with E. coli O103.

“The problem was discovered after a consumer submitted a retail package of ground beef produced by Empire Packing bearing a use or freeze by date of ‘Dec. 24, 2021,’ to a third-party laboratory for microbiological analysis,” the FSIS said in its news release. “The consumer reported previously becoming ill but did not get tested for E, coli. The third-party laboratory confirmed the ground beef sample was positive for E. coli O26.”

Most people infected with STEC O26 develop diarrhea and vomiting, the FSIS said in its release. Some illnesses last longer and can be more severe, the agency said.

Several of the products were sold at Kroger grocery outlets, the agency said.

>> Recall alert: Nearly 121,000 pounds of ground beef sold nationwide recalled amid E. coli concerns

The ground beef items were produced on Dec. 16 and Dec. 17, 2021. Products subject to the public health alert are:

  • 1-pound 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.
  • 1-pound foam trays containing “Kroger GROUND BEEF CARNE MOLIDA 96% LEAN 4% FAT.” The product is labeled with 350/(timestamp)/Est.31805/002, with the timestamp ranging from 0602 to 1721.
  • 1-pound foam trays containing “Kroger GROUND BEEF CARNE MOLIDA 85% LEAN 15% FAT.” The product is labeled with 350/(timestamp)/Est.31805/002, with the timestamp ranging from 0602 to 1721.
  • 1.3-pound foam trays containing “PRIVATE SELECTION ANGUS BEEF 90% LEAN 10% FAT GROUND SIRLOIN.” The product is labeled with 350/(timestamp)/Est.31805/002, with the timestamp ranging from 0602 to 1721. Additional product is labeled with 351/(timestamp)/Est. 31805/003, with the timestamp ranging from 1549 to 1651.
  • 1-pound foam trays containing “Kroger GROUND BEEF CARNE MOLIDA 93% LEAN 7% FAT.” The product is labeled with 350/(timestamp)/Est.31805/002, with the timestamp ranging from 0602 to 1721.
  • 1-pound foam trays containing “Kroger GROUND BEEF CARNE MOLIDA 80% LEAN 20% FAT.” The product is labeled with 350/(timestamp)/Est.31805/002, with the timestamp ranging from 0602 to 1721.

In its news release, the FSIS provided a link to view labels of the recalled products.

Consumers with questions regarding the public health alert can contact Debbie Robinson, Vice President of Customer Service, Empire Packing, at drobinson@empirepk.com.