May 28, 2024

Publix Ground Chuck Associated with E. coli O26 Outbreak in Florida; Lawsuits May Be Filed

The USDA has issued a recall that contains an announcement about an E. coli O26 outbreak among people, who primarily live in Florida, who have eaten Publix ground chuck products. At least 18 people are sick with this infection, with illness onset dates ranging from July 5 to July 25, 2018.

Publix Ground Chuck E. coli O26 Outbreak

Publix is voluntarily recalling ground chuck items that were purchased by consumers from June 25, 2018 through July 31, 2018. The list of recalled products is very long, and includes Bacon & cheddar burgers, Bacon & Fried onion slider, Badia seasoned ground chuck burger, Blue cheese burgers, Ground chuck, Ground chuck for chili, Jalapeño & cheddar slider, Jalapeño and cheddar meatballs, meat loaf grillers, Mesquite seasoned ground chuck burger, Seasoned meatloaf (oven ready), Spanish meatballs, Steakhouse seasoned ground chuck burger, Stuffed peppers, Swiss & mushroom burger, and Swiss and mushroom slider, among others.

You can see the list of counties where the Publix stores are located that sold these items at the USDA web site. They include Brevard, Citrus, Desoto, Flagler, Hernando, Indian River, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Orange, Osceola, Pasco, Pinellas, Seminole, and Volusia, among others. Please look at these lists carefully and then check your freezer to see if you shopped at a Public store in one of the listed counties and purchased one of the listed products.

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service was notified of an investigation of E. coli O26 illnesses by Florida officials on August 16, 2018. FSIS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and state public health and agriculture partners found that raw ground chuck was the probable source of the illness cluster.

Traceback information found that case patients in this E. coli O26 outbreak consumed ground chuck products purchased at various Publix Super Markets. Officials have not named the supplier of these products. There is no information about the patient age range, whether or not anyone has been hospitalized, or if anyone has developed complications.

E. coli O26 bacteria can produce Shiga toxins, just like E. coli O157:H7, and can cause serious illness and even death, especially if the patient develops hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Most people who contract this infection develop vomiting, severe and painful abdominal cramps, and bloody diarrhea.

Attorney Fred Pritzker

You can contact attorney Fred Pritzker for help at 1-888-377-8900.

Food safety lawyer Fred Pritzker, who has represented many clients sickened with E. coli infections and HUS, said, “I hope that government officials can trace this contaminated ground chuck back to its source. Meanwhile, all consumers should learn how to handle raw meat and know safe cooking temperatures and food handling procedures.”

Some patients, especially children under the age of 5, can develop hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) after a Shiga toxin-producing El. coli (STEC) infection. Symptoms of HUS include easy bruising, decreased urine output, pallor, and lethargy. Anyone with these symptoms should be taken to a doctor immediately. HUS is a type of kidney failure.

The recall/E. coli O26 outbreak notice ended with the typical information to consumers that all raw meat products should be handled with care. Avoid cross-contamination between raw meat products and foods that are eaten uncooked, always wash any surface or utensils that come into contact with raw meat, and cook ground beef products to 160°F and check that temperature with a reliable and accurate food thermometer. Wash your hands well with soap and water after handling raw meat and raw ground meat products.


  1. Brigitte Cox says

    Why don’t people cook the meat properly? It’s not Publix’s fault, rather the idiots who eat ground meat rare.

    • Linda Larsen says

      Actually it’s against the law to sell ground beef contaminated with enough E. coli bacteria to make someone sick. And “eating it rare” is not the issue. Contaminated meat can easily contaminate other surfaces in the kitchen. It’s practically impossible to prevent this cross-contamination.

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