CINCINNATI - The Kroger Co. on Tuesday recalled ground beef sold in some of its grocery stores, including Fry’s stores and Smith’s stores in Arizona.
JBS Swift Beef Co. of Greeley, Colo., earlier voluntarily expanded a beef recall because of possible E. coli contamination. Kroger says the suspect beef was sold under its store brands in more than a dozen states.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said an investigation by its Food Safety and Inspection Service of 24 illnesses in multiple states prompted Swift to re-examine its food safety system, leading to the recall.
Kroger says packages with sell-by dates of April 27 to June 1 are included. They were available in Kroger stores in the Cincinnati-Dayton region that includes northern Kentucky and southeastern Indiana; and in western Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Illinois and eastern Missouri.
Kroger-owned Food 4 Less stores in the Chicago area, Fry’s stores in Arizona and Smith’s stores in Arizona, Utah and other Western states are included in the recall.
The Cincinnati-based grocer is notifying customers who use its loyalty cards by telephone and e-mail alerts. All customers can return the recalled beef for a refund.
Spokeswoman Meghan Glynn said Tuesday she wasn’t aware of any Kroger customers reporting illness from the beef.
E. coli is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration, and in the most severe cases, kidney failure.
Some other grocery retailers are also affected, such as Scarborough, Maine-based Hannaford Supermarkets and Quincy, Mass.-based Stop & Shop. Hannaford is urging customers in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont to check freezers for the recalled beef.
Stop & Shop said affected products include 75 percent and 80 percent lean ground beef and lean ground beef Big Buy, as well as 75 percent lean ground beef Jumbo. The product was sold only at Stop & Shop stores in Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New Hampshire with sell-by dates between April 29 and June 6. Stop & Shop said it hasn’t received reports of illnesses associated with the beef, but said customers should return unused portions to any of its stores for a full refund.
Also Tuesday, Kroger recalled three popcorn seasonings because it learned from a supplier that an ingredient may have been contaminated with salmonella. Kroger-brand Movie Theater Butter Flavored, White Cheddar Flavored, and Fat Free Butter Flavored Sprinkles seasonings were sold in some Kroger stores across the South and Midwest.
Customers should not consume the products and should return them to a store for a full refund or replacement.
Salmonella is an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections, particularly in young children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems.
Kroger operates 2,475 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 31 states, under two dozen local banners, including Ralphs, Fred Meyer, Food 4 Less, Fry’s, King Soopers, Smith’s, Dillons, QFC and City Market.