A public health alert has been issued by the Michigan Department of Community Health, or MDCH, regarding E. coli illnesses linked to Kroger Co. food stores.
Of Michigan’s 15 reported E. coli cases from May 31 – June 8, more than half reported buying and consuming ground beef, the supposed source of the infection, from Kroger stores. A product traceback is in progress, but James McCurtis Jr., public information officer for the MDCH, said investigations of other retailers will be underway as well.
“So far Kroger has complied with all health and safety regulations,” McCurtis said. “They’re making sure the public is ensured health when shopping at Kroger.”
The cases, reported from seven Michigan counties — Eaton, Macomb, Washtenaw, Saginaw, Genesee, Wayne and Oakland — are all of the same strain of E. coli virus, E. coli 0157.
E. coli infections of this strain often result in symptoms such as sever stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting and fever. The infections are usually mild but can be severe for young children or the elderly.
Shoppers at Kroger, 443 Mall Court in Lansing, reacted in different ways to the news of Kroger’s products being linked to the illness, which has been spreading across the country since the spring.
“I’ve been shopping at Kroger all my life and I’ve never gotten sick from eating the meat,” said Sarah Welch, a hospitality business senior.
“I think it must have been handled correctly and the meat is probably safe by now.”
Although he doesn’t shop at Kroger too often, East Lansing resident Eric Ania said he was surprised to hear the news of the infected ground beef.
“I didn’t realize that the problem was in Kroger or even in Michigan beef,” Ania said. “I buy only organic beef for a reason, it’s grass fed and more likely to be healthy.”
Beyond retail choices, McCurtis said he warns people to be cautious when consuming beef at this time.
He said beef cooked at a minimum of 160 degrees Fahrenheit would ensure safety of the product by killing bacteria.
Loic Tchoukriel, an information and telecommunication management master’s student, said he was confident while shopping for meat on Tuesday night.
“I would be nervous if I bought meat before the recall,” said Tchoukriel. “But now I’m sure it’s under control and it’s not going to stop me from buying meat.”
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