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September 13, 1999

Another Sav-a-Lot Grocery in Florida Finds Contaminated Ground Beef

LARGO, FL (SafetyAlerts) - In response to a consumer complaint, food safety officials in Florida have tested and identified the potentially harmful bacteria E.coli 0157:H7 in a ground beef sample taken from a Largo Sav-a-Lot grocery store.

The sample was taken from the Sav-a-Lot at 2150 East Bay Drive, Largo on August 26, and positively identified today. Such tests frequently take up to two weeks.

The Florida Department of Agriculture has issued a "stop sale" order on the remainder of the lot from which the contaminated meat came.  The meat was purchased by Sav-a-Lot from two different wholesalers in chubs and ground at the store.  Inspectors are working with store officials to identify the source of the contamination and to determine which products may still be in the hands of consumers.

No confirmed illnesses have been reported from the ground beef in question, but Health Department officials are investigating the matter.

Bob Crawford, Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture in Florida has reminded consumers to make sure that they cook any ground beef thoroughly. Cooking such a product to an internal temperature of 160 degrees kills any harmful bacteria that may be harbored in the beef.

Anyone with questions about ground beef from the store can call store manager Bob Donaldson, at 727-581-1723.

Consumers with any questions regarding food safety are encouraged to call the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Food Safety Division at 850-488-3951.

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