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BUFFALO, N.Y. - Wegmans and Tops Markets are among the supermarket chains that have stopped selling irradiated ground beef since their supplier, California-based SureBeam, shut down in mid-January after it filed for bankruptcy.
Tops spokeswoman Stefanie Zakowicz said SureBeam's shutdown won't have much of an impact on ground beef sales at the chain's stores, because demand for the product was limited, according to a report in the Buffalo News. The chain exhausted its supply of irradiated beef a few weeks after SureBeam closed, she said.
Wegmans, which had been selling fresh irradiated ground beef in its supermarkets since May 2002, is watching what happens to the SureBeam facilities, which are part of the bankruptcy process, according to Wegmans spokeswoman Jeanne Colleluori.
"We don't want to jump into a decision. We want to make the right decision," she said.
Wegmans is notifying customers of the change on its Web site and by posting signs in its stores, Colleluori said. The chain also mailed postcards to 26,000 customers who were repeat buyers of the product.
SureBeam used a concentrated beam of electrical energy to irradiate beef. "That is the process we are most familiar with," Colleluori said. If Wegmans is able to line up another supplier which uses that method, it would be able to start selling irradiated beef again more quickly, she said.
Colleluori said Wegmans had a steady demand for the product.