- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 13, 2003

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Feb. 13 (UPI) — A Michigan grocery store worker Thursday faced charges he contaminated 200 pounds of ground beef with an insecticide containing high concentrations of nicotine.

Randy Bertram, 38, was indicted for food tampering. Dozens of people were sickened after eating the meat purchased from Byron Center's Family Fare store in Grand Rapids. One man had to be shocked to bring his heart rhythm under control.

Bertram is described as a "disgruntled" employee but Assistant U.S. Attorney Phil Green refused to discuss specifics of Bertram's alleged motive.

Bertram allegedly poured Black Leaf 40 on the beef before wrapping it into 1- to 3-pound packages. More than 40 people became ill. Green said he expects to hear from more people who got sick but had not tied it to the beef.

Family Fare began recalling the beef Jan. 3. Customers are encouraged to return packages of ground beef with sell-by dates of Jan. 1-3 since the contamination cannot be eliminated through cooking.

Store officials said they believe the incident was isolated.

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