WinCo expands recall of meat to all its stores

WinCo Foods on Saturday expanded its hamburger recall to include ground beef sold at its 70 stores in California, Nevada, Idaho, Washington, Oregon and Utah.

The original recall, announced a week ago, was for ground beef purchased at its Modesto store on Plaza Parkway from April 3-9. An independent lab involved with a survey of supermarket ground beef found that two samples purchased from the Modesto store were tainted with an E. coli bacteria.

But as government agencies investigated, "new information has come to light that potentially implicates WinCo's ground beef suppliers," the discount retailer said Saturday. The recall time frame was expanded to include hamburger packed in Styrofoam trays with a sale date of March 28 through April 9.

Besides the Modesto store, WinCo operates a discount foods store on Montauban Avenue in Stockton and has two stores in Fresno.

WinCo said it was acting on advice from the California Department of Public Health and that the expanded recall was consistent with an ongoing investigation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Eating undercooked hamburger tainted with E. coli may cause stomach cramping, vomiting and diarrhea, sometimes with bloody stool. It can lead to kidney damage and serious illness, with young children and seniors at highest risk.

Anyone with these symptoms after eating hamburger bought from WinCo stores is advised to contact a doctor.

Neil Gaffney, a spokesman for the USDA's food safety inspection service, said the agency could not comment on details of the probe because it might jeopardize the investigation.

Besides investigating whether WinCo violated food safety regulations, "we are investigating the suppliers of the ground beef and attempting to determine how the contamination occurred and the point of contamination," Gaffney said.

Bee staff writer Ken Carlson can be reached or at 578-2321.

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