The Star Tribune reports that five people in Minnesota and Wisconsin have been infected with E. coli bacteria traced to ground beef bought at Sam’s Club stores in July, the Minnesota Department of Health reported Tuesday.
The four infected Minnesotans, including one child, became ill between July 10 and July 24. All five have recovered, although one Minnesotan was hospitalized, state officials said. Health officials say they are concerned that it could be the beginning of a much larger outbreak.
Up to 500,000 pounds of suspect meat was sold to Sam’s Club in late June, according to officials from the meat processor, Carneco Foods of Columbus, Neb. Company officials said it is impossible to know yet how much of it has been consumed or how much might still be in people’s freezers.
In Minnesota, the E. coli infections were linked to meat bought at the Sam’s Club stores in White Bear Lake and Eagan. The Wisconsin case of E. coli 0157:H7 was linked to the store in Waukesha.
State health officials said that Sam’s Club removed all of the remaining suspect meat from its shelves Tuesday.
While no other cases of infection from the bacteria have been reported, officials say they don’t yet know how many of the national discount retailer’s 500 stores have sold the meat.