Publix issues recall on ground chuck products

Store says products may be contaminated, although recall is voluntary

LAKELAND, Fla. - A voluntary recall has been issued by Publix Super Markets regarding ground chuck products that may be contaminated with E. coli O26 that was supplied by a yet-to-be determined source, according to the grocery chain.

Officials said Publix, in cooperation with regulatory agencies, is alerting customers who may have purchased the products from June 25 through July 31 in the following Florida counties:

- Brevard
- Charlotte
- Citrus
- Collier
- DeSoto
- Flagler
- Hernando
- Highlands
- Hillsborough
- Indian River
- Lake
- Lee
- Manatee
- Marion
- Orange
- Osceola
- Pasco
- Pinellas
- Polk
- Sarasota
- Seminole
- St. Lucie
- Sumter
- Volusia

Officials said Florida Publix stores outside of the above counties, as well as stores in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia, are not included in the voluntary recall.

The ground chuck products in question include:

- Ground chuck
- Ground chuck burgers
- Gourmet burgers (jalapeno and cheddar, pimento and cheese, bacon and cheddar, bacon and fried onion, blue cheese, and swiss and mushroom)
- Seasoned ground chuck burgers (Badia, Mesquite, Montreal, and Steakhouse)
- Meatballs (bacon and cheddar, bacon and fried onion, blue cheese, jalapeno and cheddar, swiss and mushroom, and Spanish)
- Meatloaf (seasoned and grillers)
- Sliders (bacon and cheddar, bacon and fried onion, ground chuck, blue cheese, jalapeno and cheddar, and swiss and mushroom)
- Stuffed peppers

Products currently for sale in Publix stores are not part of the voluntary recall and should be considered safe for proper cooking and consumption, officials said.

As soon as health officials alerted Publix, the company immediately began working with various federal agencies on the investigation. Officials said Publix will continue to work with regulatory agencies to identify the supplier or suppliers that may have provided the contaminated product.

"Food safety is our top priority. We have been working closely with various federal agencies as we share the common goal of maintaining food safety and public health. We urge our customers to make sure they no longer have ground chuck products purchased in the affected Florida counties from June 25 through July 31 in their freezers," Publix media and community relations director Maria Brous said. "Customers should dispose of the product or bring it in for a full refund."

Officials said Publix customers who have purchased the products in question may return them to their local store for a full refund.

Consumption of products containing E. coli can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems, officials said. The USDA Food Safety & Inspection Service advises all consumers to safely prepare their meat products, including fresh and frozen ground beef, and only consume ground beef that has been cooked to a temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

Officials said the only way to confirm that ground beef is cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria is to use a food thermometer that measures internal temperature.

Customers with additional questions may call the company's customer care department at 800-242-1227 or visit its website here. For more information about food handling practices when cooking meat, visit the Partnership for Food Safety Education's website.

Visit the USDA website for more information about ground beef food safety.

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