Dangerous E. coli Found in This Meat From America's Largest Grocery Chain
If you've purchased ground beef recently, you're going to want to check your freezer. According to an alert from Consumer Reports, a package of Kroger-branded 93% lean ground beef purchased from a Fred Meyer supermarket in Seattle was found to be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7.
The tested package, which was purchased on Dec. 30, bears the establishment number "EST. 965" and has a "use or freeze by" date of 1/11/2022. Fred Meyer, Harris Teeter, Ralphs, and Dillons are among the many grocery stores that carry the ground beef.
While this product hasn't been recalled yet and no illnesses have been reported, Consumer Reports' food safety experts advise shoppers to check their ground beef and throw away any packages of the product.
The Washington State Department of Agriculture, which oversees meat safety, said the agency was "continuing to investigate this situation to identify all possible associated products that may be adulterated and in commerce and will initiate action accordingly as soon as possible to protect public health."
Additionally, Kristal Howard, a spokesperson for Kroger, said the grocery chain has initiated its own investigation and contacted Interstate Meat, the company that supplied the grocer's ground beef.
Consumer Reports' testing was part of an ongoing effort to survey ground meat from several U.S. grocery stores. However, as a consumer, it's difficult to detect whether or not a product has been contaminated with E. coli.
"The most pressing concern is that consumers could have this ground beef in their freezer, and very cold temperatures don't kill this bacteria," said James E. Rogers, PhD., director of food safety testing and research at Consumer Reports. "And there's no way to tell if the ground beef contains the harmful bacteria by just looking at or smelling it."
While symptoms of an E. coli infection vary, they often include stomach cramps, diarrhea, fever, fatigue, and nausea, and they generally develop within two to five days. Anyone who has eaten the ground beef and developed symptoms should seek medical attention.
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