Chipotle isn't the only mega-food retailer that's grappled with large-scale outbreaks of food-borne illness, as several large supermarket chains are currently proving. Marcho Farms, a supplier of meat for several notable chains such as Safeway, Gelson's, Stew Leonard's and Albertsons, has recalled 5,620 pounds of boneless veal, ground veal, beef and pork, it was announced by the USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service on Thursday.
The E.coli outbreak, which affects stores in Illinois, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia, was first noticed by the Illinois State Meat Inspection Service. The recall was issued by the Pennsylvania-based meat supplier for the products issued between April 11-14.
Although no cases of adverse reactions have been reported, according to the USDA, E.coli has proven to be a nightmare when it strikes in large quantities. Chipotle had to temporarily shutter 43 stores in the Pacific Northwest in a multi-state outbreak that started in 2015, and the deluge of bad PR that followed afterward was nothing short of a calamity for the company.
The bacteria causes dehydration, bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps typically within a week of exposure. While most people recover within a week, some develop a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), and the possibility of death lingers, albeit rarely. This condition can occur among persons of any age but is most common in children under 5-years old and older adults.
So if you live in any of the six affected states and have purchased meat at any of the stores listed on Marcho's website in the last month, the chances of food sickness might be quite high. The USDA recommends throwing any of the tainted meat out, of course, and if you develop any symptoms, seek medical help immediately.
Update, 5/8, 11:00 A.M.: It was originally reported that Walmart was a major retailer affected by the E.coli scare. That, however, is not the case, as company representatives have confirmed Marcho Farms is not a Walmart supplier.
[Food & Wine]