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U.S. company recalls 739, 000 pounds of beef

(Sunday, June 29, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- DETROIT (Reuters) - A Chicago meat processor is recalling 739,000 pounds (360,000 kg) of frozen beef that may be contaminated with bacteria after five illnesses were linked to the meat, federal officials said on Sunday.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service said Stampede Meat Inc. sold the beef, mostly in the form of vacuum packaged steaks, throughout the United States and in Canada.

The agency said five cases of E. coli infection in Minnesota, Kansas and Michigan had been linked to the meat, and investigators were still searching to see if any other illnesses might be tied to the beef. E. coli is a bacteria that causes diarrhea and dehydration, and can be fatal in some extreme cases.

Steaks are not usually considered a high-risk source of E. coli, but the government said the Stampede products had been injected with tenderizers and other solutions, and the injections increased the risk of contamination.

The meat was produced between March 17 and March 22 under various brand names, and bear the code ``EST. 19113'' inside the government inspection stamp. A full list of products covered by the recall is available online at http://http://www.fsis.usda.gov/oa/recalls/rnrfiles/rnr028-2003