MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (Nov. 4) - The giant agribusiness company Cargill Inc. said Saturday it is recalling more than 1 million pounds of ground beef that may be contaminated with E. coli bacteria.
The ground beef was produced October 8-11 at Cargill Meat Solutions' plant in Wyalusing, Pennsylvania and distributed to retailers.
Affected retailers include Giant, Shop Rite, Stop & Shop, Wegmans and Weis in Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
Cargill learned the meat may be contaminated after the Agriculture Department found a problem with a sample of the beef produced on October 8, the company said. The bacterium is E. coli O157:H7.
"No illnesses have been associated with this product," John Keating, president of Cargill Regional Beef, said in a statement. "We are working closely with the USDA to remove this product from the marketplace."
E. coli is harbored in the intestines of cattle. Improper butchering and processing can cause the E. coli to get onto meat. Thorough cooking, to at least 160 degrees internal temperature, can destroy the bacteria.
E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause bloody diarrhea and dehydration. The very young, seniors and people with compromised immune systems are the most susceptible to E. coli.
Cargill Meat Solutions, based in Wichita, Kansas, is the umbrella organization of Cargill's beef, pork and turkey businesses.
The Wyalusing plant produces 200 million pounds of ground beef annually.
Cargill Inc., based in Wayzata, Minnesota, is one of the nation's largest privately held companies. It makes food ingredients, moves commodities around the world and runs financial commodities trading businesses.