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E. coli Found In Triangle Beef

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RALEIGH — If anyone has purchased ground beef at a local Harris Teeter in the past two weeks, it might have E. coli that could be dangerous.

The grocery store does not want to alarm the public, but it does want people to know that the beef could be contaminated.

It is a small amount, but Harris Teeter said that 2 percent of the ground beef it has been selling over the past two weeks came from the IBP plant in Illinois where E. coli bacteria was discovered.

All of the local Harris Teeter stores have pulled the meat from their shelves, and are inviting customers to return their ground beef for a refund.

"If any of our customers have any concerns, they're welcome to bring back their ground beef for 100% refund in any of our stores," Store Manager Clif Wilson said.

If the beef is not returned, Harris Teeter said that people should cook it thoroughly until it reaches 160 degrees. Wake county health officials agree.

"If the beef is cooked well, so that there is no pink or red showing -- beef or juices -- then that should be enough to kill the bacteria," said Lou Brewer with the Community Health Department.

Harris Teeter said that it conducts its own random samples of ground beef and has never had any test positive for E. coli. However, many shoppers are still concerned.

Shopper Liz Hains said, "I probably would wait and buy any more ground beef for awhile until I heard everything was OK again."

Harris Teeter is the only chain known of Thursday that received any of the tainted beef.

A spokesman for the packing company said that much of it went to restaurants and other food service outlets and that much of it has probably already been consumed.

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Laurie Clowers, Reporter
Jason Darwin, Web Editor

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