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EDINA, Minn. -- State health officials are investigating seven cases of E. coli infection in Minnesotans who ate ground beef purchased at Lunds or Byerly's grocery stores based here. The 20-store privately held chain has a posted a prominent food safety alert on the homepage of its Web site alerting consumers to the news.
Routine monitoring by the Health Department found the illnesses were all caused by E. coli bacteria with the same DNA fingerprint. All involved ground beef purchased from one of four Lunds or Byerly's stores in the western Twin Cities metro area since April 12.
"The stores currently involved include Byerly's St. Louis Park, Byerly's Minnetonka, Byerly's Chanhassen and Lunds Edina," said Heidi Kassenborg, acting director of the Dairy and Food Inspection Division of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA). "However, we can't be certain that meat from other stores is not involved, since all of the beef used for ground beef for Lunds and Byerly's stores comes from a single processing facility."
Thus far, the episode has affected five adults and two children that became ill between April 21 and 28 after consuming the meat. Three were hospitalized, but all have since been discharged, according to state health officials, who are urging consumers to discard or return any ground beef purchased after April 7 from a Lunds or Byerly's store.
As a precautionary measure, Lunds and Byerly's have voluntarily removed many varieties of ground beef from all of their stores and are cooperating fully with the investigation. Organic fresh ground beef, frozen beef patties, beef purchased in the Lunds or Byerly's deli and beef sold in Lunds or Byerly's restaurants is not affected.
Officials are concerned that this product is still in consumers' homes as more people are purchasing meat for the outdoor grilling season.
For more information or a list of the ground beef products involved, visit http://www.lundsandbyerlys.com/.