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Safeway recalls tons of beef sold in isles


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POSTED: Friday, August 07, 2009

Safeway Inc. has recalled ground beef sold in Hawaii between June 6 and July 14 and in eight other states, following an outbreak of salmonella poisoning.

The more than 825,700 pounds of ground beef, which should be discarded or returned for a full refund, was produced by Beef Packers Inc. and sold at both the full-service and self-service counters of Safeway, the company said.

These products include fresh ground beef, fresh ground beef patties and fresh meatloaf.

Other states in the Safeway beef recall include Arizona, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, South Dakota and Wyoming.

Safeway said while the recalled product is no longer in stores, it is asking consumers to check all ground beef in their freezers.

Salmonella infections can be life-threatening, especially to those with weak immune systems, such as infants, seniors and persons with HIV infection or undergoing chemotherapy, medical experts warned.

Safeway said this particular strain, Salmonella Newport, is resistant to many commonly prescribed drugs, which can increase the risk of hospitalization or possible treatment failure in infected individuals, experts said.

The most common manifestations of salmonellosis are diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever within eight to 72 hours, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Additional symptoms can include chills, headache, nausea and vomiting that can last up to seven days.

State health spokeswoman Janice Okubo said yesterday there was a report of a salmonella poisoning in Hawaii between June 6 and July 14, but the infection did not match the outbreak that occurred in Colorado.

Okubo said Safeway did not know whether any of the recalled beef was sent to Hawaii, so the company decided to include the islands in the nine-state recall as a precautionary measure.

“;They couldn't tell from their records that they had sent any ground beef to Hawaii.”; she said. “;We're not aware of any shipment to Hawaii by the distributor.”;

Health officials said the ground beef might be linked to at least 21 salmonella cases in Colorado.

State health officials say the beef from Beef Packers in Fresno, Calif., was produced from June 5 through 23 and has “;EST.31913”; printed on the case code labels.

A majority of those with confirmed illnesses in Colorado bought the beef at Safeway stores.

Health officials say four people were hospitalized and that there have been 21 salmonella cases in Colorado. All are recovering.

The beef in Colorado was repackaged and sold under different retail brand names, so customers are being urged to check with their local store to determine whether they bought any of the beef.

This is the second-largest outbreak of salmonella that Colorado state health officials have investigated since July 1. Both outbreaks have been linked to ground beef.

Safeway customers can contact (800) SAFEWAY for more information about their specific product.

Customers can also contact Beef Packers at (877) 872-3635.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.