The footprint of states where in mid-September consumers could have bought ground beef contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 is much larger than was originally reported.

When Fairbank Farms, based in upstate New York, announced the Halloween recall of 545,699 pounds of ground beef, it said the product contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 was sold in eight states.  Included were: Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

But under a new policy initiated by Dr. Richard Raymond, who served as the Under Secretary for Food Safety during President Bush’s second term, the Food Safety & Inspection Service (FSIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) puts out its own list of where any potentially contaminated beef could have ended up.

FSIS’s report says retail locations in 17 states, not just the eight originally cited by Fairbank Farms, may have sold the contaminated beef.  It further shows states with so many multiple locations selling Fairbank Farms ground beef that it would have been difficult to avoid buying the E. coli-contaminated hamburger in some states.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to investigate the outbreak associated with the Fairbank Farms recall.  It is studying a cluster including 26 persons from 11 states infected with matching strains of E. coli O157:H7.  The number of ill persons identified in states that have reported illnesses is as follows: California (1), Connecticut (4), Massachusetts (8), Maryland (1), Maine (2), Minnesota (1), New Hampshire (4), New Jersey (1), New York (1), Pennsylvania (2), and Vermont (1).

In addition, two deaths have been associated with the outbreak, one in New York and another in New Hampshire.

As for the recall, none of the beef produced in mid-September would still be sold fresh.  Consumers in the larger 17-state area, however, should be checking their freezers for the ground beef.  (Freezing does not kill the bacteria.)   Here’s the more exhaustive list:

In Connecticut, check your freezer if you shop at BJ’s, Grand Union, Price Chopper, and Shaw’s, or Trader Joe’s stores.

In Delaware, Acme, BJ’s, Pathmark, Surefresh, Trader Joe’s, stores sold Fairbank Farms beef.

Maine residents who shop at BJ’s, Shaw’s, or IGA stores should check their freezers.

In Massachusetts, the retailers for Fairbank Farms are BJ’s, Shaw’s, and Trader Joe’s stores.

Marylanders who shop at Acme, BJ’s, Martins, Surefresh, Trader Joe’s stores, check your freezers.

Up in New Hampshire, BJ’s stores sold the beef.

New Jersey’s Acme, A&P, BJ’s, Pathmark, and Trader Joe’s stores distribute Fairbank Farms products.

In New York, it is the A&P, BJ’s, Great American, IGA, Pathmark, Price Chopper, Grand Union, Trader Joe’s, and Waldbaum stores.

And In North Carolina any BJ’s, Food Lion, or Trader Joe’s store could have sold the contaminated ground beef.

Or any BJ’s in Ohio.

If you go to any Pennsylvania Acme, BJ’s, Giant, Price Chopper, Martins, Pathmark, Surefresh, or Trader Joe’s store and you freeze ground beef, you may have a problem.

Same for any Rhode Island shopper who goes to BJ’s, Shaw’s, or Trader Joe’s.

In Tennessee, you would have had to shop at Trader Joe’s.

In Vermont, its C&S and IGA shoppers who need to check their freezers.

Virginia BJ’s, Food Lion, Martins, and Trader Joe’s shoppers need to get involved.

West Virginia Martins and Food Lion beefe aters should take precautions.

And Food Lion shoppers in South Carolina should take warnings.