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USDA warns Illinois consumers about potentially tainted beef

February 3, 2021 GMT

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Health officials are warning consumers in Illinois that they may have bought beef tainted with E. coli bacteria that was produced at a Nebraska plant last month.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service said the affected meat was sold by Art’s Food Market in Sandwich, Illinois, which is about 60 miles west of Chicago. The affected ground beef is no longer available for purchase, but officials said consumers could still have it in their refrigerators or freezers.

The USDA said the meat was produced by Greater Omaha Packing Company in Omaha, Nebraska, on Jan. 14. The potentially tainted beef was sold in 2-pound packages that are labeled with “packed by dates” between Jan. 28 and Jan. 31. Consumers should throw out the beef or return it to the store.

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Officials said the company determined that it incorrectly shipped beef associated with a sample that tested positive for E. coli bacteria, which can cause bloody diarrhea and kidney failure. The USDA said no illnesses have been linked to the affected beef.

Company officials said only one 70-pound box in the lot that tested positive for E. coli was shipped. Angel Besta with Greater Omaha said all other beef produced that day tested negative.