Ground beef, meatloaf and meatball mixes sold at Giant Food stores in the area are among meat that has been recalled for possible E. coli contamination.
Fairbank Farms, an Ashville, N.Y. company, voluntarily recalled approximately 319,763 pounds of fresh ground beef products that may have been contaminated with E. coli 0157:H7.
On Friday, Nov. 25, representatives at Fairbank Farms were notified by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that their product may contain the virus. Fairbank Farms immediately notified its customers, including Giant Food Inc., located in Landover, which operates 189 supermarkets in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and Washington D.C.
"All of our customers on the East Coast were contacted Friday," said Daren Williams, a spokesman for Fairbank Farms. "There should not be any product remaining on the shelves. Our immediate concern is for the consumers who may have purchased the product and have it sitting in their refrigerator or freezer."
The beef products were produced Nov. 5 and 6 and shipped shortly afterwards, said Williams. Consumers should look for the establishment code "EST. 492" inside the USDA mark of inspection. Anyone finding this code should return the product to the store where it was produced for a full refund. If anyone has beef products that are not contained in their original packaging, they should call the store where it was purchased to see if it had received any of the infected beef.
The Giant chain is voluntarily recalling 93 percent lean ground beef, ground sirloin, ground round, ground chuck and 75 percent regular ground beef with "sell by" dates of Nov. 8 through Nov. 23, according to a press release issued by Giant. Also included is Giant meatloaf and meatball mix with "sell by" dates of Nov. 15 and 16 sold in Giant/Super G stores.
E. coli 0157:H7 is an organism that may cause serious illness in small children, frail or elderly people and those with weakened immune systems. Short-term symptoms include nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea and/or bloody diarrhea. Pregnant women should consult their physicians.
Consumers protect themselves from E. coli by cooking ground beef to 160 degrees Fahrenheit, which kills the bacteria.