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August 30, 1999

Contaminated Ground Beef Found in Georgia Market

Investigators Still Searching for Source

ATLANTA, GA (SafetyAlerts) – The Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) announced that inspectors have been working with Publix Supermarkets Corporate Offices and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspectors to determine lot numbers and distribution points for regular ground beef that tests indicate may be contaminated with E.coli 0157:H7 bacteria.

USDA inspectors discovered the contamination during a routine sampling at the Publix Towncenter Store in Loganville, GA. Upon receipt of positive laboratory test results, USDA inspectors notified the GDA during the weekend. When informed of the possibility of a contamination, as a precautionary measure, Publix voluntarily removed all ground beef, from all stores, that was received on August 23. Consumers who purchased regular ground beef from the Publix Town Center Store in Loganville, GA on Monday, August 23, carrying the store code date of August 25 are urged to return it to the store for a refund. No illnesses have been reported.

According to Jack Holt, Public Relations Official from the GDA, the exact source and distribution of the contaminated ground beef has not been determined and additional stores may be carrying the contaminated beef. The GDA, USDA and Publix are working continuously to determine the source of contamination.

E.coli 0157:H7 produces a powerful toxin and can cause severe illness, particularly in children. Symptoms include diarrhea and dehydration. Consumers are warned to thoroughly cook ground beef to 160 degrees F to kill all bacteria.

Consumers in Georgia can call the state’s Department of Agriculture at (800) 282-5852 or for out of state inquiries (404) 656-3689

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