Company Recalls 96,000 Pounds of Beef

Officials say meat has sickened at least three people in Ohio.

May 22, 2009— -- COAL VALLEY, Ill. (AP) - A northwestern Illinois meatpacker isrecalling nearly 96,000 pounds of its ground beef products becausethey may be contaminated with E. coli.

Officials say a recall was initiated after three people fellsick from E. coli in the Cleveland area, and that related illnesseshave been reported in Pennsylvania and Illinois.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Thursday that meat fromValley Meats LLC of Coal Valley was linked to the Ohio infections.

The USDA said the beef was produced in March and distributed in10-pound to 40-pound packages, sold under brand names includingGrillmaster, J&B, Thick 'N Savory, 3S, Klub and Ultimate.

All of the recalled beef products bear the establishment number"EST. 5712" inside the USDA's inspection mark.

The Ohio Department of Health alerted federal officials lastweek that a 3-year-old girl, a 24-year-old man and a 71-year-oldman were ill from E. coli bacteria with the same geneticfingerprint.

Kristopher Weiss, a spokesman for that department, says two ofthe three were hospitalized and all are now recovered.

A message left Friday by The Associated Press with Valley Meatswas not immediately returned.

E. coli is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause bloodydiarrhea, dehydration and, in the most severe cases, kidneyfailure. The very young, seniors and people with weak immunesystems are the most susceptible to food-borne illness.

Consumers with questions can contact the company at309-799-7341.