Cargill Recalls Frozen Ground Beef from Sam's Club Stores on E. coli Reports

WAYZATA, Minn. -- Cargill Inc. here said over the weekend it was recalling about 844,812 pounds of frozen beef patties nationwide due to possible contamination from a toxic strain of E. coli, after investigators found four cases of illness linked to a Sam's Club division Minnesota.

Wal-Mart-owned Sam's Clubs in the state pulled frozen hamburgers made by Cargill from store shelves after Minnesota health officials discovered the cases of E. coli associated with the meat.

Cargill said in a statement it does not yet know the extent of "any contamination." The investigation, which has been expanded beyond Minnesota, is ongoing, said Reuters in a report over the weekend.

"We are concerned that some consumers may still have the product sold at retail in their freezers," Bill Rupp, president of Cargill Meat Solutions, said in a statement. "We and Sam's Club are urging customers to return or destroy any American Chef's Selection Angus Beef Patties purchased in any of their stores since August."

Cargill said the hamburgers were manufactured at its plant in Butler, Wisconsin. The food associated with reports of the outbreak were bought in Sam's Club stores in late August and September.

All four cases of E. coli being investigated occurred in children, the Minnesota Department of Health said in a statement.

The Cargill recall comes on the heels of Elizabeth, N.J.-based Topps Meat Co.'s recall of 21.7 million pounds of ground beef amid E. coli concerns. That recall has forced Topps to go out of business.

The Minnesota kids became ill between Sept. 10 and Sept. 20 after eating ground beef bought at three Sam's Club stores in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, according to new wire reports.

One of the children remains in the hospital, the Minnesota Health Department said.
Symptoms of E. coli illness include stomach cramps and diarrhea. People typically are ill for two to five days but can develop complications, including kidney failure. A USDA spokeswoman said the Cargill and Topps cases are not related.

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