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SafetyAlerts
December 2, 2000

Cub Foods Pulls Ground Beef From Shelves, Additional Retailers May Be Affected

Minneapolis, MN (SafetyAlerts) - SUPERVALU INC. said today it has pulled all fresh ground beef and unboxed, frozen beef patties from Cub Foods store shelves in Minnesota and western Wisconsin in response to the Minnesota Department of Health's link of E. coli to fresh ground beef products in these states. It is believed that any affected fresh ground beef or unboxed, frozen beef patties would have been purchased on or after November 1, 2000.

As a precautionary measure, SUPERVALU today also is removing all fresh ground beef and unboxed, frozen ground beef patties from Cub Foods stores in the Chicago and Indianapolis metropolitan areas.

This aggressive action was necessitated in part by the probable identification of a federally inspected Green Bay, Wis., packer -- American Foods Group, Inc., (AFG) -- as the source of the E. coli contamination. This identification was made possible through studies by the Minnesota Department of Health and analysis of product distribution records by SUPERVALU.

In addition, SUPERVALU also announced that it has begun a process to identify independent retailers in other states that obtained AFG-supplied fresh ground beef through SUPERVALU distribution centers. SUPERVALU is advising its independent retailers to follow its lead and immediately pull from their shelves all AFG-supplied fresh ground beef product and frozen ground beef patties that contain AFG-supplied ground beef. A list of 21 Minnesota independent retailers that received the affected product is included with this press release. These retailers have indicated to SUPERVALU that they are in the process of removing these products from their shelves. Consumers who purchased ground beef at one of these locations are advised to contact the retailer with questions.

"Our primary concern is for customer safety," said Mike Wright, chairman and chief executive officer of Minneapolis-based SUPERVALU, which owns Cub Foods. "That is why we have initiated this voluntary action and we have notified our independent retailers accordingly. We take very seriously the health of our customers and we are cooperating fully with state health department officials," he said. "This is an all-out effort for us. We also feel it is imperative that our retailers know that they may have received affected product and should take similar extraordinary action on behalf of their customers."

Upon notification Friday from the Minnesota Department of Health, SUPERVALU and Cub Foods immediately began to work closely with state officials in their investigation, as well as initiating a review of their own records. While most of the implicated product at Cub Foods or in the other retail stores has likely been purchased by this time, SUPERVALU moved quickly to remove all fresh ground beef and unboxed, frozen ground beef patties from its potentially affected Cub Foods stores and has advised its independent retailers to do the same.

Company officials have indicated that anyone who purchased any fresh ground beef product or unboxed, frozen beef patties from Cub Foods since November 1, 2000, may return it to any Cub Foods store for a full cash refund. SUPERVALU also has suggested to its independent retailers to extend a similar offer. The company added a reminder to all customers to cook all ground beef and hamburger products thoroughly.

Wright stressed that the company purchases its ground beef products from federally inspected processing plants. In addition, company stores are subject to ongoing, stringent third-party inspections and employees receive regular training and participate in food safety classes.

Wright also said that the stores will be restocked with fresh ground beef from other federally inspected meat packers.

Dr. Michael Osterholm, former Minnesota state epidemiologist and an international food-borne disease expert said, "Cub Foods and SUPERVALU have an exemplary history of cooperation with the state Health Department. They have taken the appropriate steps in this situation by exercising the utmost caution in the interest of public safety and health. Everyone involved is working diligently to determine the source of this issue as quickly as is humanly possible." Dr. Osterholm is serving as a consultant to SUPERVALU and Cub Foods.

Locations

* County Market, Montevideo, MN
* County Market, Winona, MN
* County Market, Marshall, MN
* Jerry's Foods, Eden Prairie, MN
* County Market, Prior Lake, MN
* Juba's SUPERVALU, Blue Earth, MN
* Ed's SUPERVALU, Richland Center, WI
* Tim's SUPERVALU, Winthrop, MN
* Marches SUPERVALU, Minneapolis, MN
* Jerry's Foods, Edina, MN
* Kowalski's, Grand Avenue, St. Paul, MN
* SUPERVALU, 98th Street, Bloomington, MN
* County Market, Rice Lake, WI
* County Market, Champlin, MN
* Penn Lake SUPERVALU, Bloomington, MN
* Driskill's, Excelsior, MN
* Steve's SUPERVALU, St. Paul, MN
* Tauer's SUPERVALU, Springfield, MN
* Kowalski's Market, White Bear Lake, MN
* Bergan's SUPERVALU, Minneapolis, MN
* County Market, Forest Lake, MN

Notice of this product warning was sent via email to SafetyAlerts subscribers December 2, 2000.  For more information regarding the SafetyAlerts free email alert service please click here.

 
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