Safeway Inc. is voluntarily pulling a variety of its Butcher's Cut frozen ground beef patties from its stores in California, Nevada and Hawaii as part of Modesto-based Valley Meat Co.'s recall of about a million pounds of ground beef possibly contaminated with E. coli.
The meat wholesale company's recall was announced Friday after seven people had been sickened with the bacteria.
Safeway Inc. is cooperating with Valley Meat's recall and pulling the Butcher's Cut patties from Safeway, Vons, Pavilions and Pak 'N Save stores, according to a Safeway news release.
No illnesses have been reported in connection with Butcher's Cut products, according to Safeway officials.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service became aware of the problem July 15 when it was notified by the state Department of Public Health that six people became ill with a rare strain of small E. coli from April 8 to June 18. A patient from February was added to that list.
The agencies did not identify the people, where they live or where they might have eaten the tainted beef products.
Safeway Inc. is recalling these beef products:
• Butcher's Cut 100 percent ground beef patties 73 percent lean/27 percent fat; 2.5 pound, 10-count packages sold after Jan. 13, 2010. (2,388 resealable packages)
• Butcher's Cut 100 percent ground beef patties 80 percent lean/20 percent fat; 2.5 pound, 10-count packages sold after Jan. 12, 2010. (1,008 resealable packages)
• Butcher's Cut 100 percent ground beef patties 73 percent lean/27 percent fat; 128 ounce, 32-count boxes sold after Jan. 12, 2010. (279 boxes)
The recalled products are stamped with a "Best Before" date of Jan. 7, 2011. The "Best Before" date can be found near the zipper lock on the 10-count packages and on the side of the 32-count cases.
Safeway officials are asking customers to discard these products or return them to their local store for a full refund.
The USDA is assisting Valley Meat in recalling the beef. The beef patties and ground beef in question were produced by Valley Meat from Oct. 2, 2009 to Jan. 12, 2010, and were sold in California, Texas, Oregon, Arizona and internationally.
Safeway Inc. reminded consumers that ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Color is not a reliable indicator that ground beef has been cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria such as E. coli.
More ground beef cooking and handling instructions tips can be found at the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service Web site at www.fsis.usda.gov.
Customers with questions about the ground beef recall can call a Valley Meats-sponsored help desk at 866-221-6474 or log on to www.valleymeat.com/our-team/recall-information.
Customers can contact Safeway at 800-723-3929.
Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at email@example.com or 578-2394.