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Aldi recalls ground beef linked to E. coli outbreak; Illinois among states where burger was sold

September 21, 2018

Aldi is recalling ground beef sold in Illinois and other states due to possible E. coli contamination through a Colorado beef processing facility.

The meat, which has a use or freeze-by date of July 10, was sold by Aldi as 80 percent lean fresh ground beef in 2-pound packages and four-count, one-third pound patties. The product includes the stamp “EST.85M” inside the U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection mark, the company said.

Aldi, whose U.S. headquarters are in Batavia, sold the affected product at stores in 11 states, including Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota. It also was sold to Aldi customers in the Chicago area through a partnership with grocery delivery service Instacart, the company said.

The beef was produced at Cargill Meat Solutions in Fort Morgan, Colorado, which issued a national recall Wednesday of 132,600 pounds of ground chuck after an E. coli outbreak killed one person and sickened 17.

Aldi issued the voluntary recall “out of an abundance of caution,” according to a statement emailed to the Tribune. The discount grocery chain had yet to post the recall notice on its website as of Friday morning.

“We take the safety and integrity of the products we sell very seriously,” the company said.

Aldi operates more than 1,800 U.S. stores in 35 states, including Sterling and Dixon.

The USDA said the ground chuck was produced and packaged June 21 and shipped to retail locations nationwide.

On Aug. 16, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service determined that raw ground beef produced at Cargill’s facility was the probable source of an E. coli outbreak that sickened 18 people, mostly in Florida, with illness onset dates ranging from July 5 to 25.

Most people infected with E. coli develop diarrhea and vomiting and generally recover in a week. In some cases, a severe infection can lead to kidney failure.

Cargill has identified the 3-, 10- and 20-pound chubs sent to distributors before being repackaged for sale at grocery stores, but the USDA has yet to post the retail distribution list on its website.

“This product was produced in June, and so none of this product would be on store shelves right now for any consumers to purchase,” April Nelson, a Cargill spokeswoman, said Thursday. “They can feel confident going into a store and buying ground chuck.”

Since the affected beef expired in July, the primary concern is that some of the product may be tucked away in freezers.

“If you have the affected product in your home, please discard it immediately or return it to your local store for a full refund,” Aldi said.

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©2018 the Chicago Tribune

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