Food & Drink

Publix recalls ground beef after 18 people fall ill with E. coli

dneal@MiamiHerald.com

Publix is recalling ground beef products sold this summer after 18 cases of E. coli, mostly in Florida, can be traced to the beef, according to the USDA.

The list of counties that received the tainted beef did not include Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach or Monroe counties.

But it did include Brevard; Charlotte; Citrus; Collier; DeSoto; Flagler; Hernando; Highlands; Hillsborough; Indian River; Lake; Lee; Manatee; Marion; Orange; Osceola; Pasco; Pinellas; Polk; Sarasota; Seminole; St. Lucie; Sumter; and Volusia.

The list of products, which were sold from June 25 through July 31, includes ground chuck; ground chuck burgers; gourmet burgers (Jalapeno & Cheddar, Pimento & Cheese, Bacon & Cheddar, Bacon & Fried Onion, Blue Cheese, and Swiss & Mushroom); seasoned ground chuck burgers (Badia, Mesquite, Montreal, and Steakhouse); meatballs (Bacon & Cheddar, Bacon & Fried Onion, Blue Cheese, Jalapeno & Cheddar, Swiss & Mushroom, and Spanish); Meatloaf (Seasoned and Grillers); sliders (Bacon & Cheddar, Bacon & Fried Onion, Ground Chuck, Blue Cheese, Jalapeno & Cheddar, and Swiss & Mushroom); and stuffed peppers.

This is a Class 1 recall, defined by the USDA as “a health hazard situation where there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death.”

Unless frozen, the products should have already been consumed or tossed. The USDA and Publix worry is about what’s in home freezers across the above counties.

“Food safety is our top priority. We have been working closely with various federal agencies as we share the common goal of maintaining food safety and public health. We urge our customers to make sure they no longer have ground chuck products purchased in the affected Florida counties from June 25 through July 31 in their freezers,” said Maria Brous, Publix media and community relations director, in a company website statement. “Customers should dispose of the product or bring it in for a full refund.”

People can become sick two to eight days after eating the contaminated meat. Most E. coli issues deal with E. coli O157:H7. This is E. coli 026, a similar strain.

“Most people infected with O26 develop diarrhea (often bloody) and vomiting,” the USDA said. “Some illnesses last longer and can be more severe. Infection is usually diagnosed by testing of a stool sample. Vigorous rehydration and other supportive care is the usual treatment; antibiotic treatment is generally not recommended. Most people recover within a week, but rarely, some develop a more severe infection.

“Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure, is uncommon with STEC O26 infection.”

Customers with questions can call Publix at 1-800-242-1227 or go to the website’s contact page.

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