WinCo Foods Recalls Ground Beef for Potential E. Coli

This weekend, WinCo Foods expanded a recall it issued for its hamburger product to now include ground beef sold at its 70 WinCo Food stores in California, Nevada, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and Utah, the Modesto Bee reported. WinCo also runs a discount foods store on Montauban Avenue in Stockton, as well as two stores in Fresno, said the Modesto Bee

The original recall, which was announced the prior week, involved ground beef purchased at WinCo Foods’ Modesto store on Plaza Parkway from April 3 through April 9, said the Modesto Bee. An independent lab involved in a survey of supermarket ground beef determined that two ground beef samples purchased from WinCo’s Modesto store were tainted with the dangerous, sometimes deadly, <"">E. coli pathogen, the Modesto Bee added.

An investigation conducted by government agencies found that “new information has come to light that potentially implicates WinCo’s ground beef suppliers,” said WinCo, which expanded the recall to now include hamburger meat packaged in Styrofoam trays with sales dates from March 28 through April 9, wrote the Modesto Bee.

According to WinCo, it was acting on California Department of Public Health advice and its recall expansion is in line with U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) investigation processes, said the Modesto Bee. USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) spokesman, Neil Gaffney, said the FSIS could not comment on investigation details, but did indicate that, in addition to investigating whether WinCo violated food safety regulations, “we are investigating the suppliers of the ground beef and attempting to determine how the contamination occurred and the point of contamination,” quoted the Modesto Bee.

E. coli are a group of bacteria found in animal intestines and feces and is normally found in the digestive tracts of cows. Ground beef and other meats can become contaminated with E. coli bacteria during the slaughtering process. Symptoms of E. coli infection include stomach cramps and watery diarrhea that may turn bloody within one to three days.

The very young, seniors, and persons with weak immune systems, for instance people undergoing chemotherapy or who have been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS are the most susceptible to food borne illness. While most people will recover from E. coli poisoning within seven-to-10 days, extreme cases can lead to kidney failure and death. Some people will require hospitalization, and even dialysis treatments or blood transfusions and E. coli may cause fatal blood poisoning, cystitis, deadly septicemia, and death.

While some strains are necessary for digestion; some are harmful, deadly, and toxin producing and part of a group of E. coli called Verocytotoxigenic E. coli, or VTECs, also known as Shiga-producing E. coli. Of particular concern is the virulent, sometimes deadly E. coli O157:H7 strain that is part of this group and is generally found to be the culprit in E. coli-related food-borne illness outbreak.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), E. coli is one of the leading causes of food borne illness in the U.S. but estimates could be much higher, because many cases of E. coli poisoning are never reported.

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