The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Services (USDA FSIS) has issued a public health alert for ground beef sold at Kroger that may be contaminated with E. coli O26. The agency did not request a recall because the affected products are no longer for sale, but officials are concerned some consumers may have these products in their freezers.
The ground beef items included in the public health alert were produced by Empire Packing on December 16 and 17, 2021, and sold under the brand names Private Selection, Kroger, and Laura’s Natural. Consumers who have any of these products in their freezers should not eat them as E. coli O26, which produces a Shiga-toxin that is poisonous to humans, can cause severe illness in humans.
At least one illness has been reported in association with the consumption of this product. That consumer, who did not get tested for E. coli., brought a package of ground beef with a “use or freeze by date” of December 24, 2021, to a third-party laboratory testing. Results showed the ground beef was contaminated with E. coli O26.
Symptoms of an E. coli infection include abdominal cramps and diarrhea that can be bloody. Anyone concerned about an illness associated with these products should contact a healthcare provider.
All of the products included in the alert have “Est.31805/002” in the mark of inspection. They include:
- 1-lb. foam trays containing “ALL NATURAL LAURA’S LEAN BEEF 92% LEAN 8% FAT GROUND BEEF.”
- 1-lb. foam trays containing “Kroger GROUND BEEF CARNE MOLIDA 96% LEAN 4% FAT.”
- 1-lb. foam trays containing “Kroger GROUND BEEF CARNE MOLIDA 85% LEAN 15% FAT.”
- 1.3-lb. foam trays containing “PRIVATE SELECTION ANGUS BEEF 90% LEAN 10% FAT GROUND SIRLOIN.”
- 1-lb. foam trays containing “Kroger GROUND BEEF CARNE MOLIDA 93% LEAN 7% FAT.”
- 1-lb. foam trays containing “Kroger GROUND BEEF CARNE MOLIDA 80% LEAN 20% FAT.”
- 1-lb. foam trays containing “ALL NATURAL LAURA’S LEAN BEEF 92% LEAN 8% FAT GROUND BEEF.” The product is labeled with 350/(timestamp)/Est.31805/002, with the timestamp ranging from 0602 to 1721.