State

Modesto WinCo customers unaware of problem

Information about WinCo Foods' ground beef recall slowly spread to Modesto shoppers Monday.

Besides in-store signs and news reports, officials have few ways to contact people who purchased tray-packed ground beef from the warehouse grocer April 3 through Friday.

WinCo sent a news release to news agencies Saturday and posted signs above the ground beef counter. The signs -- in English and Spanish -- told customers to bring ground beef purchased last week back for a refund. The signs did not mention E. coli.

Shoppers Monday said they hadn't heard about the recall and did not see the signs posted in the meat department.

"They should get it out to the TV news and put an ad in the paper," said Rosemary Martinez of Modesto.

Stan Gainer of Keyes bought ground beef Monday and said he didn't know about the recall.

"In the freezer, I have hamburger at home I'm sure I bought last week," he said.

Like many valley residents during the recession, Gainer is on a limited income. He said he shops at WinCo and buys ground beef to save money.

Shoppers loading groceries into their carts Monday said WinCo should post larger signs at multiple locations in the store.

Besides the signs, several customers took to social media Web sites Monday to get the word out. Many used Twitter to pass along recall information.

In the event of a food recall, retailers are urged to contact federal agencies such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and local and state health departments. The next step is inform the public.

On the Net: wincofoods.com.

Bee staff writer Michelle Hatfield can be reached at mhatfield@modbee.com or 578-2339.

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