By News-Register staff • 

Consumer Reports issues beef warning


Until more information is provided, any ground beef purchased over a 10-week span this summer should be avoided, according to Consumer Reports magazine.

The company is advising consumers who bought ground beef or beef sirloin trimmings between mid-July and the end of September, and stored them in the freezer, to avoid eating it.

It said the advice stems from an alert issued Thursday by the Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service warning that more than 6.5 million pounds of beef were being recalled by JBS USA—one of the nation's largest meat producers—due to possible salmonella contamination. The meat came from the company’s facility in Tolleson, Arizona, and was produced between July 21 and Sept. 7.

Similar to a recent recall of ground beef by Cargill due to E. coli fears, the FSIS provided a list of products and labels to avoid, including the brands Cedar River Farms, Comnor Perfect Choice, Gourmet Burger, Grass Run Farms Natural, and Showcase/Walmart. This current recall involves almost 50 times more ground beef than the Cargill recall earlier this fall, enough to make more than 17 million 6-ounce hamburgers.

The last use by/sell by date for the products currently listed was Sept. 27, so none of the potentially affected meat should still be on store shelves. However, the FSIS notes that consumers may still have it in their freezers.

The FSIS suggests that consumers throw away or return any products they have with the listed labels or with a USDA inspection code of EST. 267.

But much of the ground beef was distributed to retailers in bulk and was likely repackaged, according to Jean Halloran, director of food policy initiatives at Consumers Union, the advocacy division of Consumer Reports.

Because the new packaging will not carry the initial label or indicate the establishment code, consumers may not be able to tell whether the beef they bought is part of the recall. And consumers who often rewrap beef before they put it in the freezer won’t know whether the meat they’ve frozen is affected.

“The FSIS has not yet provided a full list of retailers that received the product, and their product list will not help if you purchased beef that was repackaged,” Halloran said. “If you have ground beef in your freezer and you know it is part of the recall, throw it away or return it to the store. But if you aren’t sure, I’d give the same advice I’d give a friend: You can throw it out or wait to see if we get more information, but for now don’t eat any ground beef in your freezer purchased from mid-July through the end of September.”

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Consumer Reports magazine does not seem like the appropriate source to consult for information in this instance.

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