MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The parent company of Cub Foods expanded a ground beef recall on Saturday after four people became sick, adding to the 17 ill people announced on Friday.
The recall now includes some Supervalu stores in Minnesota as well as all Cub Foods stores in Chicago and Indianapolis.
Michael Wright, CEO of Eden Prairie-based Supervalu, which owns Cub, said that ground beef contaminated with the foodborne bacterium E. coli had been traced to Green Bay, Wis., packer American Foods Group Inc. Supervalu records revealed that hamburger from the Wisconsin company had gone to other stores besides Cub locations in Minnesota.
The company had announced Friday night that it was removing all fresh ground beef from its Minnesota stores -- and stores in Eau Claire and Onalaska, Wis. -- after investigators with the Minnesota Department of Health implicated Cub's ground beef in 17 E. coli infections in Minnesota. Our first priority is our customers' safety," Wright said.
It wasn't clear whether residents in Wisconsin or other states that received beef from Cub's suppliers had also been sickened. "This has got the potential to turn into an outbreak affecting other states," said Dr. Harry Hull, Minnesota state epidemiologist.
Health officials said the additional four victims included a 2-year-old Minnesota child that developed a potentially fatal complication of E. coli infection called hemolytic uremic syndrome. The infection results when toxin produced by the bacteria begins to destroy the kidneys. It primarily affects the very young and old or those with weakened immune systems, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. All of the new illnesses reported Saturday involved Minnesota residents.
Other stores involved in the recall include County Markets, Kowalski's and Jerry's, all of which get ground beef from Supervalu.
Minnesota has had two other E. coli outbreaks this year. In March, six students at Risen Christ Catholic School in Minneapolis tested positive for E. coli. Those cases were linked to hamburger used in hot dishes. St. Paul Park-based Simek's Inc. recalled three kinds of frozen ground beef patties in September after three people who ate them tested positive for E. coli.
E. coli can cause bloody diarrhea and dehydration, headache and nausea. The very young, the elderly, and persons with compromised immune systems are the most susceptible to food-borne illness. The bacteria can be killed by cooking meat to an internal temperature of 160 degrees.
To contact Supervalu with information on the recall, affected stores and foodborne illness, call (877) 278-6454.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.