Recalled Safeway beef made Clearlake man sick, family claims

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Safeway is urging Northern California customers to check their freezers and refrigerators for ground beef products tied to a massive E. coli recall.

The grocery store giant says that it is recalling more than 80 products from Safeway, Albertsons, Pak 'N Save, and Vons stores in seven states including Northern California.

The products all contained ground beef processed at a Cargill Meat Solutions processing center in Colorado.

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U.S. Agriculture officials say the Kansas-based company is recalling more than 25,000 pounds of ground beef that might be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7.

The recall notice by the U.S. Department of Agriculture says the meat was shipped to warehouses in California and Colorado.

It's labeled "Excel 93/7 Fine Ground Beef" and was produced Aug. 16 with a Sept. 5 expiration date. The USDA provided pictures of the labels for the affected meat.

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The notice says the meat processing plant discovered the problem Aug. 22 after a records review found the beef might be associated with a product that is presumed positive for the E. coli bacteria.

One day later Safeway issued its own recall listing 83 affected products. A full list is available on their website. These products were sold between August 20th and 23rd, with sell-by dates of the 21st through the 25th.


"Consumers who have purchased these products are asked to discard or return them to the place of purchase for a refund," officials wrote on their website.

An ABC7 News viewer in Clearlake said her family ate the ground beef before they knew about the recall. Her husband got sick, but has since recovered.

E. coli can cause dehydration, diarrhea and abdominal cramps, and it can cause a life-threatening form of kidney failure in young children and the elderly.

Sara Cody, M.D., Santa Clara County Health Officer, says you shouldn't take any chances if you still have some of the beef at home.

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"Young children are at particular risk for very severe outcomes including death, so play it safe," says Cody. "Just discard the meat."

Fred Zanotto, co-owner of Bay Area-based Zanotto's Family Markets, says it's very important for customers to know where their meat is coming from. His company works directly with a cattle rancher in Montana that only supplies Certified Piedmontese Beef.

"Every package of meat, we slice, we cut, we grind our own product," says Zanotto. "We buy nothing pre-made from anybody, so all the product, you can rest assured is made here at Zanotto's."

As we head into the holiday weekend, Cody is reminding the public about the importance of properly handling and cooking ground beef.

"You always want to cook your ground meats to a safe internal temperature of at least 160 (degrees)," says Cody. "You always want to watch out for cross contamination in your kitchen."

The USDA provided pictures of the labels for the affected meat.

For more stories, photos, and video on recent issues with E. coli, visit this page.
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