Beef Recalls Extends Across East Coast

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A New York meat company has recalled almost 546,000 pounds of ground beef because it may be contaminated with a bacteria that has caused illness and one death, according to health officials.

The meat sold by Ashville, N.Y.-based Fairbank Farms was linked to cases of E. coli-related illness in Connecticut, Maine and Massachusetts, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Saturday. One person died and two others became ill, New Hampshire health officials said.

The ground beef was sold at Trader Joe's, Price Chopper, Lancaster, Wild Harvest, Shaw's, BJ's, Ford Brothers and Giant stores. Each package carried the number "EST. 492" on the label. They were packaged Sept. 15-16 and may have been labeled with a sell-by date from Sept. 19 through Sept. 28.

Also, ground beef packaged under the Fairbank Farms name was distributed to stores in Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia. That meat was likely repackaged for sale and would likely have differing package and sell-by dates.

The USDA was urging customers with concerns to contact the stores where they bought the meat.

Located in the southwestern corner of New York a few miles from the Pennsylvania line, Fairbank Farms has had two other voluntary recalls over the last two years, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service.

In September 2007, the company recalled 884 pounds of ground beef products because they may have been contaminated with E. coli, the agency said. And in May 2008, it recalled 22,481 pounds of ground beef products that may have contained pieces of plastic.

Symptoms of E. coli include stomach cramps that may be severe and diarrhea that may turn bloody within one to three days. E. coli can sometimes lead to complications including kidney failure.

Symptoms usually show up three to four days after a person eats contaminated food, although in some cases it can be as long as eight days. Officials said anyone having symptoms should immediately contact a doctor.