The Class 1 recall, announced Thursday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, focuses on 825,769 pounds of ground beef shipped in June to retail distribution centers in California, Colorado, Utah and Arizona. It's the nation's largest beef recall this year. Of the 40 reported cases of Salmonella Newport in nine states, 21 are located in Colorado, and five are located in California.
Despite repeated calls for Cargill to disclose the names of retailers who received the contaminated beef, Cargill has refused to provide their identities. Rebecca Hayne, a spokeswoman for Cargill Inc., which owns the Fresno plant, declined to identify retailers who received the beef. "We're working with them very closely right now to make sure any of this product cannot be purchased by consumers," Hayne said.
Customers are encouraged to contact their retailer if they have meat involved in the recall. The recalled meat was produced between June 5 and 23 and shipped with "use/freeze by" dates between June 23 and July 14.
Hayne said the suspected ground beef was shipped to retail distribution centers in bulk cases of 60 or 80 pounds and repackaged for shipment to individual stores. She was not sure whether the contamination occurred at the Fresno plant, in a retail distribution center or at retail stores.
In Colorado, at least 15 of the 21 confirmed Salmonella Newport cases reported eating ground beef purchased at Safeway stores.
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Safeway spokeswoman Teena Massingill said that while the fresh ground beef is no longer on store shelves, the company is asking customers to check their freezers for ground beef purchased at full-service and self-service counters. The products include fresh ground beef, ground beef patties and fresh meat loaf. She said Safeway and Vons customers should either throw out the meat or return it for a full refund.
Walmart spokeswoman Anna Taylor said Sam's Club will contact members who may have purchased the meat, and that Walmart stores were not affected by the recall.