- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Area health officials have reported no illnesses so far related to Giant Food Inc.'s recall of ground beef with potential E. coli contamination.
Company executives have not said how many shoppers have returned meat since the voluntary recall was announced Saturday. And it will take days before they know how much meat was sold in the Giant and Super G stores, company spokesman Barry S. Scher said yesterday.
Some of the potentially contaminated meat was still on the store shelves as of Saturday, he said.
The recall was announced after a U.S. Department of Agriculture test found a strain of E. coli in meat at a Fairbanks Farms processing plant in Ashville, N.Y. Meat products sold in Giant stores were part of that production lot, according to a company statement.
Giant Foods is recalling 93 percent lean ground beef, ground sirloin, ground round, ground chuck and 75 percent lean regular ground beef with "sell by" dates of Nov. 8 through Nov. 23.
Giant Meatloaf and Meatball Mix with "sell by" dates of Nov. 15 and Nov. 16 also are being recalled.
There are hundreds of harmless E. coli strains, but this strain can produce a powerful toxin that can cause severe illness, especially in children, the elderly and others with weak immune systems. The bacteria can be eliminated if the meat is cooked to 160 degrees, but shoppers who bought the products should return them to Giant or Super G stores for refunds. Customers with questions should call Giant Food's customer service department at 301/341-4322.
Health officials at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have said about 52 Americans die annually from food-borne bacteria while 62,000 others become sick each year.
Giant Foods has its headquarters in Landover and operates 189 supermarkets in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia and the District. The New Jersey and Delaware stores operate under the name Super G.


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