This Memorial Day weekend you may be cooking out, putting burgers on the grill, but make sure your ground beef is not part of a recent recall.
The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service says stores in 12 states may have received beef contaminated with E. coli O157:H7.
The FSIS announced this week that 1.8 million pounds of ground beef was recalled because it could be contaminated. The federal agency has now named retailers that may have received the affected products.
Some are as follows (more could be added):
• Gordon Food Service Marketplace stores in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Wisconsin
• Giorgio's Italian Delicatessen in Stuart, Florida
• Blairsville Seafood Market in Blairsville, Georgia
• M Sixty Six General Store in Orleans, Michigan
• Bronson's Super Valu in Beulah, North Dakota
• Jason's Super Foods in New Town, North Dakota
• Buchtel Food Mart in Buchtel, Ohio
• Quick Stop in Erwin, Tennessee
• Virginia Market in Maynardville, Tennessee
• Barger Foods in Nashville, Tennessee
• Virginia Heights Travel Store in Wytheville, Virginia
The meat is being removed from store shelves. But you should return or throw out meat that has the code EST.2574B and a production date between March 31 and April 18, 2014.
The ground beef is sold under a variety of labels but came from Wolverine Packing.
"While none of the Wolverine Packing product has tested positive for the pathogen implicated in this outbreak, the company felt it was prudent to take this voluntary recall action in response to the illnesses and initial outbreak investigation findings," Chuck Sanger, a spokesman for Wolverine Packing, said in a statement.
Eleven people across four states have been sickened. Ten of those people were ate at restaurants that received contaminated meat. But federal officials say regulations prohibit them from naming those restaurants.
"People who were exposed were already exposed, so it doesn't help the public to tell them now that a certain restaurant was associated with these illnesses. Our job really is to identify product that may still be available," said David Goldman, assistant administrator for the Office of Public Health Science at the USDA.
"The number changes. Yesterday, it was on the order of nearly 40 states, but we don't -- that number changes. That's part of the process too, is to identify where the food -- the meat in this case -- was actually distributed," Goldman said.
E. coli strains cause gastrointestinal illness in humans, with symptoms such as abdominal pain and diarrhea. Young children, pregnant women, the elderly and people who have weakened immune systems (like cancer or HIV patients) are at greater risk for severe illness and death.
Cooking meats thoroughly to at least 160°F or 70˚C kills the bacteria and prevents infection as well. Make sure to avoid cross contamination and always wash hands after handling meat.