Going into this past weekend, on April 10, WinCo Foods recalled all ground beef products sold at its Modesto, CA store between April 3 and 9, 2010.

The Class 1, High Health Risk recall is only for the Modesto store located at 2200 Plaza Parkway.

A principal of a reputable food-testing laboratory advised WinCo Foods that, as a part of an independently funded survey of ground beef sold in supermarkets, it had found two samples of ground beef purchased at the Modesto store to be positive for E. coli O157:H7.

“Out of our great concern for the health of our customers and our ongoing commitment to provide only safe, quality products, WinCo Foods decided it would be appropriate to issue this recall,” the company said in a prepared statement.

As soon as WinCo was notified, it pulled all ground beef products at the store, broke down and sanitized all processing equipment, and contracted with Analytical Laboratories, Inc. (an independent ISO certified and accredited lab) to conduct follow up sanitation verification testing.  

WinCo Foods has also notified its ground beef suppliers and will continue to work with them to try to pinpoint and to eliminate any source of contamination.  

The Stanislaus County Health Department, California Department of Public Health, and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were all notified.

E. coli O157:H7 causes abdominal cramping, vomiting and a diarrheal illness, often with bloody stools.  Young children and the elderly are at highest risk for developing serious kidney damage and death.

In addition to the Modesto store, WinCo has 70 other stories in Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, and Utah.   Its 13,000 employees privately hold the grocery store chain.