Header graphic for print

Food Safety News

Breaking news for everyone's consumption

Ground Beef Linked to E. coli Recalled From Two Whole Foods Market Stores in Massachusetts

Whole Foods Market is voluntarily recalling 368 pounds of ground beef products from two of its Massachusetts stores because of potential E. coli O157:H7 contamination, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced early Friday.

Subject to this recall are 73 lbs. of ground beef products produced June 21 at the company’s South Weymouth, MA, store and 295 lbs. produced June 8 and 10 at the store in Newton, MA. The list of products can be found here and is also included at the bottom of this story.

The recalled products were wrapped in brown butcher paper or were in plastic-wrapped trays with Whole Foods meat department scale labels on them.

The recall was announced after three cases of E. coli O157:H7 infection were confirmed in Massachusetts in June, although FSIS stated that additional laboratory tests were not done until this week.

“Working in conjunction with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), FSIS determined that there is a link between ground beef purchased at Whole Foods Market and this illness cluster,” the agency stated.

“While the onset of illnesses was in June, on August 13, 2014, additional laboratory results provided linkages between the 3 MA case-patients and ground beef purchased from Whole Foods. Traceback investigation indicated that all 3 case-patients consumed ground beef purchased from 2 Whole Foods Market prior to illness onset. FSIS is continuing to work with state and federal public health partners on this investigation to determine a common source and will provide updated information as it becomes available,” FSIS noted.

Why that time lag occurred between the reported illnesses and the additional lab tests, how the E. coli patients are doing now, and whether there were additional E. coli cases associated with this outbreak could not be ascertained for this story since a spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health declined to respond to additional questions from Food Safety News beyond the information provided in the FSIS release.

Anne Roach, media relations manager for MDPH, emailed that, “I have nothing else for you. The release contains all the information that I have to share.”

Repeated calls and emails to Roach and MDPH Communications Director Dave Kibbe requesting more information were unsuccessful, nor did media contacts at Whole Foods Market respond to information requests from Food Safety News.

However, a Whole Foods spokeswoman indicated to local media outlets in Massachusetts that no definitive link had been made between the company’s products and this E. coli outbreak.

“There have been no positive test results of product indicating the presence of E. coli 0157:H7 bacteria associated with the product sold at the two Whole Foods Market stores,” stated Heather McCready. “This voluntary recall is to advise customers who may still have ground beef in their freezers to discard the product and bring their receipt to either of the two stores for a full refund.”

Consumers with questions regarding the recall can call Whole Foods Market at (512) 477-5566, ext. 20060.

In August 2008, Whole Foods announced a voluntary ground beef recall involving potential E. coli O157:H7 contamination in products supplied by Coleman Natural Beef and processed by Nebraska Beef. Whole Foods then pulled products sold over an approximately two-month period in 2008 from its stores in 27 states and the District of Columbia.

E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause dehydration, bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps two to eight days (three to four days, on average) after exposure the organism. While most people recover within a week, some develop a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). This condition can occur among persons of any age but is most common in children younger than five and older adults. It is marked by easy bruising, pallor, and decreased urine output. Persons who experience these symptoms should seek emergency medical care immediately.

The products subject to recall include 125 lbs. of the following ground beef products produced on June 8, 2014 at the Newton, MA, Whole Foods Market location:

  • “BEEF GROUND SIRLOIN 93% LEAN 7% FAT” with SKU 90013
  • “BEEF GROUND SIRLOIN 93% LEAN 7% FAT FAMILY PACK” with SKU 90247
  • “BEEF SIRLOIN Patty  93% LEAN / 7% Fat” with SKU 90088
  • “BEEF GROUND 93% LEAN / 7% FAT” with SKU 90035
  • “BEEF GROUND SIRLOIN 93% LEAN 7% FAT patty FAMILY PACK” with SKU 52179
  • “BEEF GROUND 85% LEAN 15% FAT” with SKU 90004
  • “BEEF GROUND 85% LEAN 15% FAT FAMILY PACK” with SKU 90037
  • “BEEF GROUND PATTY 90% LEAN GRASS FED” with SKU 96363
  • “BEEF GROUND PATTY 90% LEAN GRASS FED, Value Pack” with SKU 52162
  • “BEEF GROUND 90% LEAN GRASS FED” with SKU 95997
  • “BEEF GROUND 90% LEAN GRASS FED, Value pack” with SKU 52190
  • “BEEF GROUND 85 15 GRASS FED” with SKU 95195
  • “BEEF GROUND 85 15 PATTIES GRASS FED” with SKU 95196
  • “BEEF BURGER GRASS FED GOURMET FEATURED” with SKU 52871

Also subject to recall are 170 lbs. of the following ground beef products produced on June 10, 2014, at the Newton, MA, Whole Foods Market location:

  • “BEEF GROUND SIRLOIN 93% LEAN 7% FAT” with SKU 90013
  • “BEEF GROUND SIRLOIN 93% LEAN 7% FAT FAMILY PACK” with SKU 90247
  • “BEEF SIRLOIN Patty 93% LEAN / 7% Fat” with SKU 90088
  • “BEEF GROUND 93% LEAN / 7% FAT” with SKU 90035
  • “BEEF GROUND SIRLOIN 93% LEAN 7% FAT patty FAMILY PACK” with SKU 52179
  • “BEEF GROUND SIRLOIN 93/7 PATTIES NE” with SKU 90199
  • “BEEF GROUND SIRLOIN 93/7 NE” with SKU 95051
  • “BEEF GROUND 85% LEAN 15% FAT” with SKU 90004
  • “BEEF GROUND 85% LEAN 15% FAT FAMILY PACK” with SKU 90037
  • “BEEF GROUND PATTY 90% LEAN GRASS FED” with SKU 96363
  • “BEEF GROUND PATTY 90% LEAN GRASS FED, Value Pack” with SKU 52162
  • “BEEF GROUND 90% LEAN GRASS FED” with SKU 95997
  • “BEEF GROUND 90% LEAN GRASS FED, Value pack” with SKU 52190
  • “BEEF GROUND 85 15 GRASS FED” with SKU 95195
  • “BEEF GROUND 85 15 PATTIES GRASS FED” with SKU 95196
  • “BEEF BURGER GRASS FED GOURMET FEATURED” with SKU 52871

Also subject to recall are 73 lbs. of the following ground beef products produced on June 21, 2014, at the South Weymouth, MA, Whole Foods Market location:

  • “BEEF GROUND PATTY 90% LEAN GRASS FED” with SKU 96363
  • “BEEF GROUND PATTY 90% LEAN GRASS FED, Value Pack” with SKU 52162
  • “BEEF GROUND 90% LEAN GRASS FED” with SKU 95997
  • “BEEF GROUND 90% LEAN GRASS FED, Value pack” with SKU 52190
  • “BEEF GROUND 85 15 GRASS FED” with SKU 95195
  • “BEEF GROUND 85 15 PATTIES GRASS FED” with SKU 95196
  • “BEEF BURGER GRASS FED GOURMET FEATURED” with SKU 52871
  • “BEEF GROUND SIRLOIN 93% Lean 7% fat”  with SKU 90013
  • “BEEF GROUND SIRLOIN 93% LEAN 7% FAT FAMILY PACK” with SKU 90247
  • “BEEF SIRLOIN Patty 93% LEAN / 7% Fat” with SKU 90088
  • “BEEF GROUND 93% LEAN / 7% FAT” with SKU 90035
  • “BEEF GROUND SIRLOIN 93% LEAN 7% FAT patty  FAMILY PACK” with SKU 52179
  • “BEEF GROUND SIRLOIN 93/7 PATTIES NE” with SKU 90199
  • “BEEF GROUND SIRLOIN 93/7 NE” with SKU 95051
© Food Safety News