Published: July 23, 2012
Hannaford is offering refunds to customers who have any ground beef in their freezers bought in its stores with its store brand and stamped with sell-by dates ranging from May 29 through June 16. It has posted signs in its meat departments and on its Web site, and sent media advisories locally and nationally.
In a pop-up announcement on its Web site, Cargill Meat Solutions Corporation, which processes and distributes pork, beef and turkey products to retailers and food service outlets, said it was voluntarily recalling the meat, which it described as an 85 percent lean ground beef product.
Hannaford bought the meat in bulk from Cargill and repackaged it under its own name. It will be making refunds on all such ground beef stamped with the specified dates regardless of the fat content, a spokesman said.
Salmonella infections, which tend to be most severe among infants, older adults and the sick, can be life-threatening to those with weak immune systems. Typically, they strike within 72 hours after the consumption of tainted food. The Department of Agriculture recommends cooking meat to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit, as measured by a thermometer, to ensure against salmonella poisoning.
The department’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has been investigating an outbreak of salmonella Enteriditis, one of the most common types of salmonella serotypes, affecting 33 patients in seven states, including those where Hannaford has stores, as well as Rhode Island and Virginia. That continuing inquiry involves the health departments in those states as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Through epidemiology and by tracing purchases, investigators were able to link the illnesses of five people, two of whom had been hospitalized, to meat produced at Cargill Meat Solutions. Not all meat samples led back to a specific point of sale.