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Safeway Says Some Of Its Meat Involved In Huge Recall

Jul 20, 2002 | KCBS-740 AM /AP

Safeway supermarkets says some of its ground beef is part of that huge recall by the agriculture department.

KCBS reporter Betsy Gebhart in the Santa Clara County Bureau spoke with a Safeway spokesman who said the main suppliers of beef to its Northern California supermarkets are two California beef companies. However over the 4th of July weekend there was an increased demand for hamburger so Safeway brought in a small delivery of beef from ConAgra of Colorado.

ConAgra has had 19 million pounds of its beef recalled by the agriculture department because of the possible presence of toxic E. coli bacteria. This is the second largest beef recall on record.

Safeway spokesman David Bowlby said ConAgra beef sold in Safeway stores amounted to one-quarter of one percent of the total recalled. "We had no reported cases of illness and again the amount that was supplied to make up for that increase in demand was very nominal here in California,' he said.

Safeway is encouraging customers to return all ground beef products with sell by dates of between July 3rd and July 15th.

Bowlby noted the beef for sale now on Safeway shelves is not ConAgra and is not affected by the recall.

The expanded recall was announced Friday after at least 16 people in Colorado were sickened by hamburger processed by ConAgra Beef Co. of Greeley, Colo., which serves chain and independent grocery stores, food service operators and restaurants.

The number of E. coli reports was continuing to rise. At least six other cases of illness have been reported in California, Michigan, South Dakota, Washington and Wyoming, but none have been linked yet to the ConAgra beef.

E. coli bacteria are naturally present in the intestinal tracts of all warm-blooded animals, including humans.

Most of the hundreds of strains are innocuous, but E. coli O157:H7, which is not naturally present in humans but does occur in the intestinal tracts and feces of livestock, produces a toxin in people that can cause bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps and in some cases death.

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