Giant Food Inc. is recalling several varieties of ground beef sold over the past few weeks because it may be contaminated with E. coli bacteria.
Giant spokesman Barry S. Scher said yesterday that officials at the company would not know until this week how much of the meat was sold by its Giant and Super G stores. All unsold meat included in the recall was removed Friday, he said.
The recall includes 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, and Giant Meatloaf and Meatball Mix with sell-by dates of Nov. 15 and 16. The products also bear the code "EST. 492" inside the Agriculture Department inspection mark.
The meat was processed by Fairbank Farms, which said 319,763 pounds of potentially contaminated ground beef was sent to unnamed distributors in Maryland, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York and Pennsylvania. No illnesses have been reported, the Agriculture Department said.
Routine Agriculture Department sampling uncovered the problem with the products, which were produced at Fairbank Farms' Ashville, N.Y., facility.
Consumers should return products covered by the recall to any Giant or Super G store for a refund.
Fairbank Farms is one of a number of ground-meat suppliers to Giant, and "there is [uncontaminated] product on the shelves. We're not out of anything," Scher said.
E. coli can cause bloody diarrhea and dehydration and more serious illnesses in young children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems. Contaminated meat becomes harmless if cooked to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.