By DAN SEWELL, AP Business Writer
CINCINNATI (AP) — The Kroger Co. on June 30 recalled ground beef sold in some of its grocery stores.
JBS Swift Beef Co. of Greeley, Colo., earlier voluntarily expanded a beef recall because of possible E. coli contamination. Kroger says the suspect beef was sold under its store brands in more than a dozen states.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said an investigation by its Food Safety and Inspection Service of 24 illnesses in multiple states prompted Swift to re-examine its food safety system, leading to the recall.
Kroger says packages with "sell by" dates of April 27 to June 1 are included. They were available in Kroger stores in the Cincinnati-Dayton region that includes northern Kentucky and southeastern Indiana; and in western Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Illinois and eastern Missouri.
Kroger-owned Food 4 Less stores in the Chicago area, Fry's stores in Arizona and Smith's stores in Arizona, Utah, and other western states are included in the recall.
The Cincinnati-based grocer is notifying customers who use its loyalty cards by telephone and e-mail alerts. All customers can return the recalled beef for a refund.
Spokeswoman Meghan Glynn said Tuesday she wasn't aware of any Kroger customers reporting illness from the beef.
E. coli is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration, and in the most severe cases, kidney failure.
Some other grocery retailers are also affected, such as Scarborough, Maine-based Hannaford Supermarkets. It is urging customers in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont to check freezers for the recalled beef.
Kroger operates 2,475 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 31 states, under two dozen local banners including Ralphs, Fred Meyer, Food 4 Less, Fry's, King Soopers, Smith's, Dillons, QFC and City Market.
Kroger customers with questions can call 1-800-632-6900.
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