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Published: Thursday, 5/22/2014 - Updated: 3 months ago

GFS Marketplace received some tainted beef

Meat cause of 3 E. coli cases in county

BY FEDERICO MARTINEZ
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Gordon Food Service announced Wednesday that its Toledo stores received some of the 1.8 million pounds of tainted beef from a Michigan supplier.

The beef, which was shipped from a Detroit company, has been blamed for 11 cases of E. coli in Michigan and Lucas County.

Gordon Food Service issued the following statement:

“GFS Marketplace stores, including those in Toledo, Ohio, stock one of the items that was included in the Wolverine voluntary recall. That item is a Fresh Premium Angus Beef Steakburger Patty, 10 count, 4 lb package. The GFS Marketplace store reorder number is 841757.

“Upon learning of the recall, Gordon Food Service implemented our standard recall procedures, which includes disposing all recalled products and displaying a recall notice in our GFS Marketplace stores.

Gordon Food Service also posted the recall notice we received from Wolverine.”

The statement further stated that affected customers should discard the product and will be issued a full refund with sales receipts or product packaging,

Eric Zgodzinski, director of community and environmental health services for the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department, applauded the company for coming forward after initially telling investigators it did not have any of the tainted products.

“I commend them for that,” Mr. Zgodzinski said. “There may have been some confusion earlier. Our staff may have asked if they had any of the products on their shelves, instead of did you have any of the products.”

Lucas County health officials have not been able to confirm whether a fourth county resident, a 17-year-old boy, contracted a strain of E. coli linked to the contaminated Michigan meat. Officials said there have been no additional cases reported.

“That’s good news; that’s very good news,” Dr. David Grossman, health commissioner of the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department, said on Wednesday.

Three Lucas County residents have been connected to the E. coli outbreak that has affected 11 people, four from Ohio and seven from Michigan.

Federal health officials initially announced that distribution of the contaminated meat was limited to Michigan and Ohio. But the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service officials on Wednesday confirmed that infected meat was sent to distribution centers nationwide, including grocery stores and schools. Officials are not sure how many states have received the tainted beef.

Outbreaks of E. coli have been reported in Mississippi, Missouri, and Kansas.

Lucas County health officials have not released the name of the restaurant where two people are believed to have become infected, but have described the establishment as a “sit-down type of restaurant.”

The infection is a rare type of E. coli known as hemolytic-uremic syndrome, a disorder that usually occurs when an infection in the digestive system produces toxic substances that destroy red blood cells, and can cause severe, even permanent kidney damage, Dr. Grossman told reporters earlier this week during a news conference.

Federal health officials are investigating Wolverine Packaging Co., a Detroit business that distributed the ground beef believed to be affected.

Wolverine Packaging Co. issued a brief statement Wednesday.

“At Wolverine Packaging we continue to support the Food Safety Inspection Service in its ongoing investigation into the voluntary recall of our product. As FSIS continues to diligently investigate this matter, we encourage anyone who has a concern to be sure to cook all ground beef to a minimum temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit and measure the temperature with a meat thermometer.“

The products 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.”

Contact Federico Martinez at: fmartinez@theblade.com or 419-724-6154.



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