(CBS/AP) An employee at the Southern California meat plant responsible for the recent e.coli scare that left Los Angeles hamburger lovers with a bad taste in their mouths, says the 35,000 pounds of ground-beef sold to L.A. restaurants has all been returned.
Steve, a shipment worker for South Gate Meat Company who declined to give his last name, told CBS News that all of the meat that had not already been consumed or disposed of was returned to the plant yesterday.
As of press time, USDA representatives had not confirmed or refuted this claim.
"We drove to the restaurants and picked up the product and replaced it," he says, adding that the company doesn't supply any large chain restaurants. "Just mom and pop type places - diners and diners with drive-throughs."
The affected beef was produced between June 7 and June 21 and shipped to restaurants in the Los Angeles area.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service said late Tuesday that no illnesses have been reported from the bulk ground beef and ground beef patties. They say USDA personnel discovered the problem through microbiological sampling.
E. coli is a potentially deadly germ that can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration and, in the most severe cases, kidney failure.