By STEVEN NALLEY
Both the Kroger and Wal-Mart locations in Starkville are exempt from their respective companies’ recent recall of ground beef because their shipments of the product did not come from the plant contaminated with E. coli.
On Monday, the Associated Press reported Winn-Dixie Stores Inc., Publix Super Markets Inc. and Kroger Co. were recalling more than 60,000 pounds of ground beef coming from a National Beef Packaging Co. plant in Ohio.
Joe Bell, a spokesperson for Kroger Co.’s Delta Division, said only the company’s Atlanta Division uses that plant as its beef supplier. Therefore, he said, no stores outside that division will join the recall unless National Beef Packaging discovers E. coli at another plant.
“Once the FDA gets involved, it could take in other divisions or other manufacturers or other retailers,” Bell said. “Right now, we’re being told it doesn’t affect anybody else at this time. They only service one of our divisions out of that plant.”
Bell said the Atlanta Division includes Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and eastern Tennessee. The Delta Division includes Mississippi, Arkansas, and west Tennessee, he said, so no Kroger stores in Mississippi are subject to the recall.
For those within the Atlanta Division, Kroger issued a press release Monday offering customers full refunds for returning certain ground beef items with sell-by dates of July 29 through Aug. 12. The release said Kroger has removed those items from affected stores and issued register receipt messages and automated phone calls to customers who may have bought the affected items.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. also issued a press release saying its stores would recall ground beef from the National Beef Packing plant in question, but the press release did not specify which Walmart stores would be affected. Brett King, manager at the Starkville Walmart, said his store was not subject to the recall.
“Our ground beef did not come from that plant,” King said. “When we’re affected, corporate sends us a direct message. There’s been no recall message on our ground beef.”