Pennsylvania among states that received beef contaminated with E. coli

Pennsylvania is one of nine states that have received ground beef contaminated with E. coli bacteria that has infected 11 people, federal health officials said.

Nearly 2 million pounds of beef were recalled earlier this week by the Wolverine Packing Co. in Detroit, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service. The beef was produced between March 31 and April 18, officials said.

Gordon Food Services Marketplace, the only Pennsylvania food retailer officials have so far identified as having carried the tainted ground beef, said Friday that all of the recalled beef has been pulled from store shelves. The USDA Thursday issued a list of food retailers that had received the beef.

About 40 GFS stores are in the Pittsburgh area, including in Pleasant Hills, Monroeville, Robinson and Greensburg.

Officials also cautioned that other markets also may have sold the beef and they are advising consumers to check the specific identification information, available at the Food Safety and Inspection Service website.

The products subject to recall bear the establishment number "EST. 2574B" and will have a production date code in the format "Packing Nos: MM DD 14" between "03 31 14" and "04 18 14."

The beef also was shipped to distributors for restaurant use nationwide.

A spokesperson for the USDA said the recall could expand as the agency works through a list of all products and stores potentially affected.

None of the beef was distributed to the National School Lunch Program or for catalog/Internet sales, federal officials said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 11 people -- ranging in age from 19 to 46 -- have been infected with E. coli in four states: Ohio, Massachusetts, Missouri and Michigan.

E. coli is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause dehydration, bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps two to eight days after exposure to the organism, health officials said.

The CDC has estimated that 1 in 6 Americans, or 48 million, get sick from foodborne illnesses each year. About 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die.

The Associated Press contributed. First Published May 23, 2014 9:30 AM

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