Last Friday, Whole Foods Market announced a voluntary recall in select states of the fresh ground beef it sold between June 2 and Aug. 6. The company was concerned the beef may be contaminated with E. coli.
Yesterday, Whole Foods extended its recall to include Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico and Utah.
The beef in question came from Coleman Natural Beef (now owned and operated by Meyer Beef). Coleman used a company called Nebraska Beef for processing.
On Friday, Nebraska Beef issued a USDA Class 1 recall of 1.2 million pounds of beef because of possible E. coli contamination. At the time, Whole Foods reps said only a very small percentage was destined for its stores, with the vast majority headed for other retailers.
State health departments in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania had linked illnesses to nine Whole Foods Market shoppers. States now affected by the recall include Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, DC and Wisconsin.
Whole Foods Market asks customers who purchased ground beef between June 2 and Aug. 6 (including meat stored in the freezer) to dispose of it and return to the store with the packaging or receipt for a full refund.
According to the Washington Post, Nebraska Beef is one of the country’s largest meatpackers, and this is the second outbreak linked to the company in the last few months. The Post also reports that Whole Foods execs didn’t know Coleman’s beef was processed at Nebraska Beef, which has a history of sanitation and food-safety violations.
“Nebraska Beef, which continues to operate,” Post reporters write, “had already been under close scrutiny by the U.S. Department of Agriculture since late June.”
Many have criticized the USDA for laxity in dealing with the company.
Photo courtesy of Whole Foods Market