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Clark County health ranking drops, experts point to OD crisis as cause

Ohio GFS stores may have sold recalled beef

Ground beef products recalled for potential E. coli bacteria contamination may have been sold directly to consumers at GFS (Gordon Food Service) Marketplace stores in Ohio, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

There are eight GFS Marketplace stores in the southwest Ohio region, including four in the Dayton area and one each in Springfield, Middletown, Fairfield and Mason, according to the company’s web site.

When the recall of 1.8 million pounds of ground beef products from a Michigan meat-packing plant was first announced Monday, USDA officials said the recall covered only beef products destined for use in restaurants. But a follow-up USDA advisory Wednesday night said recalled beef may have been sold at GFS Marketplace stores in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Tennessee, Wisconsin and Florida. It also identified one other Ohio retailer where the beef may have been sold: The Buchtel Food Mart in Buchtel, a village that straddles Athens and Hocking counties in southeast Ohio.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service says E. coli traced to beef packaged at Wolverine Packing Company of Detroit has been linked to 11 illnesses in four states. Those affected include four Ohioans — three of whom required hospitalization, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Three of those affected live in Lucas County in northwest Ohio; one is from Portage County in northeast Ohio.

A spokesman for GFS Marketplace confirmed in a prepared statement this morning that the company’s stores did stock one of the products that was included in the Wolverine Packaging Co. recall. That product is labeled “Fresh Premium Angus Beef Steakburger Patty” in a 4-pound, 10-count package. The recalled product was produced between March 31, 2014 and April 18, 2014.

“Upon learning of the recall, GFS Marketplace implemented standard recall procedures, which includes urgent notification to the stores with instructions to dispose of all recalled product and display a recall notice,” the GFS statement said. The company posted an alert on its own web site.

Customers who purchased the product should discard any remaining product immediately and can obtain a full refund by bringing either their sales receipt or the product packaging to their local GFS Marketplace store, the GFS statement said.

The recalled ground-beef products bear the establishment number “EST. 2574B” and have production date codes between March 31 and April 18. There was no distribution of the products to the National School Lunch Program, the Department of Defense, or for catalog/internet sales, the USDA said.

The agriculture department’s food-service inspection service was notified of E. coli O157:H7 illnesses on May 12 and worked with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to determine a link between the ground beef products from Wolverine Packing Company and the cluster of illnesses, which struck the patients between April 22 and May 2.

The E. coli bacteria strain is potentially deadly and can cause dehydration, bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps two to eight days after exposure to the organism. While most people recover within a week, some develop a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome that is most common in children younger than 5 and older adults.

The USDA recommends that ground beef should be cooked to a temperature of 160 degrees as measured by a meat thermometer.

Consumers with questions about the recall can call (262) 563-5118, USDA officials said.

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