Ground Beef Sold at Albertsons, Fred Meyer, Walmart, and WinCo Is Recalled Due to E. Coli Risk

More than 28,000 pounds of beef are recalled after Consumer Reports' lab tests found the dangerous bacteria. No illnesses have been reported.

Packaging of recalled ground beef. Source: USDA.

Interstate Meat Distributors, a meat processing company, has recalled 28,365 pounds of ground beef, the Department of Agriculture announced Thursday. The recall occurred after Consumer Reports’ tests found a deadly strain of E. coli called O157:H7 in a package of Kroger-branded meat produced by Interstate. No illnesses have been reported. 

The recalled ground beef was sold at Albertsons, Fred Meyer, Walmart, and WinCo supermarkets under the following brand names: Albertsons Signature Farms, Kroger Ground Beef, Walmart All Natural Ground Beef, Walmart All Natural Lean Ground Beef, and WinCo Fresh Ground Beef. It was shipped to stores in seven states: Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. (You’ll find a list of the specific products below and can download a PDF of the product labels.)

CR’s finding was part of a larger test of ground meat bought from supermarkets across the U.S. CR bought the contaminated raw ground beef on Dec. 30, 2021. The positive result for E. coli O157:H7 was confirmed by several tests. 

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“We quickly notified the USDA of our findings,” says James E. Rogers, PhD, director of food safety testing and research at CR. “The agency rapidly worked with the distributor to issue a recall.”

A spokesperson for Kroger, which owns Fred Meyer, said the company is urging consumers to throw away the recalled ground beef or return it to the store where it was bought for a full refund. 

The recalled products bought at Walmart can also be returned for a refund, according to a Walmart spokesperson. The company told CR in a statement that “as soon as we were notified by Interstate Meat Dist., Inc. of the recall, we began alerting our stores and distribution centers to remove the affected product from their shelves and inventory, and we implemented a register block to prevent additional sales.” 

Albertsons and WinCo did not respond to our questions in time for publication. 

Interstate Meat has not responded to multiple requests for comment.

“If you have ground beef from any of these retailers in your fridge or freezer, check the packages to see if the meat is part of this recall,” Rogers advises. “Even though proper cooking will kill E. coli, when you know a food has been recalled, you shouldn’t take the chance. And you can’t tell whether meat is contaminated by smelling or looking at it.”

The Risks of E. Coli

E. coli O157:H7 is a particularly dangerous strain that produces a toxin that can damage the lining of the intestine, leading to bloody diarrhea and, in some cases, a condition called hemolytic uremic syndrome, which can cause life-threatening kidney damage. E. coli O157:H7 sickens about 95,000 people in the U.S. each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Symptoms usually appear two to five days after ingesting contaminated food, and more common ones are less serious and can include vomiting, stomach cramps, fatigue, nausea, a low fever, and diarrhea without bleeding. 

Most people will get better without any treatment other than rest and hydration, according to the CDC. But the agency urges people to avoid antidiarrheal medication, which can slow your digestive system and prevent your body from getting rid of the toxin. And the CDC doesn’t recommend antibiotics to treat E. coli infections, which can increase the risk of serious complications and actually won’t help treat the infection. 

If after a week or so symptoms don’t get better or they start to worsen, contact a healthcare provider. In severe cases, hospitalization may be needed to provide IV fluids, blood transfusions, or even kidney dialysis.

The Details

Products recalled: All packages have the EST number “965” on their labels and are stamped with a use-by or freeze-by date of 1/11/2022.

  • Albertsons, Signature Farms Ground Beef, 93% Lean - 7% Fat, 16 oz.
  • Albertsons, Signature Farms Ground Beef, 93% Lean - 7% Fat, 48 oz.
  • Kroger Ground Beef, 93% Lean - 7% Fat, 16 oz.
  • Kroger Ground Beef, 93% Lean - 7% Fat, 48 oz.
  • Walmart, All Natural Ground Beef, 90% Lean - 10% Fat, 16 oz.
  • Walmart, All Natural Lean Ground Beef, 93% Lean - 7% Fat, 16 oz.
  • Walmart, All Natural Lean Ground Beef, 93% Lean - 7% Fat, 48 oz.
  • WinCo, Fresh Ground Beef Sirloin, 90% Lean - 10% Fat, 16 oz.
  • WinCo, Fresh Ground Beef, 93% Lean - 7% Fat, 16 oz.
  • WinCo, Fresh Ground Beef, 93% Lean - 7% Fat, 48 oz.

The problem: The products may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7.

The fix: Check your refrigerator and freezer for these products. Recalled ground beef purchased at Fred Meyer, and Walmart may be returned to the store for a full refund. Otherwise, toss any recalled product in the trash.

How to contact the manufacturer: Call Interstate Meat Distributors  at 503-656-6168. 

USDA hotline for food-safety questions: 888-674-6854.

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated based on new information clarifying that Fred Meyer is the only Kroger-owned supermarket that received ground beef potentially contaminated with E. coli from Interstate Meat. QFC supermarkets were not affected.

Head shot of CRO author Lisa Gill

Lisa L. Gill

As a dorky kid, I spent many a Saturday at the Bloomington, Ind., public library, scouring Consumer Reports back issues for great deals. Now, as a (much) bigger kid, that's still my job! Identifying products and services, especially in healthcare, that are safe, effective, and affordable—and highlighting those that aren't—is my top concern. Got a tip? Follow me on Twitter ( @Lisa_L_Gill)