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Kroger ground beef among 17.7 tons recalled for potential plastics contamination

Ground beef is displayed for sale at a grocery store

Ground beef is displayed for sale at the Union Market in Washington, Saturday, April 1, 2017. | AP photo

A North Carolina food processor has recalled more than 17.7 tons of ground beef, some of which was sold in Kroger stores, for possible contamination with plastic bits, according to the Department of Agriculture.

JBS USA is recalling 35,464 pounds of raw ground beef processed at its Lenoir, N.C., facility for possible contamination with hard plastic pieces, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced late Wednesday. The recall comes after a consumer found blue, hard, plastic pieces in one of the products, the USDA says.

The department says there have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to the consumption of the products, which were produced March 22, 2018.

The ground beef, sold in a variety of packages, was shipped to distribution centers in Virginia and Indiana and sent to retailers including Kroger stores in North Carolina, Virginia, Indiana, Illinois and eastern West Virginia, as well as Food 4 Less and Jay C stores in the Midwest. The products carried a sell-by date of April 9, 2018, and a USDA mark with the number EST. 34176.

Some consumers may have packages of the ground beef in their freezers, the USDA says. Those who bought the products should throw them away or return them to the place of purchase.

Kroger is aware of the recall and has “verified that none of these products are in our stores today,” spokesperson Kristal Howard said, “We encourage customers to check their freezers for the potentially affected products and not to consume them but throw them away or return them to their place of purchase for a full refund.”

Kroger’s Mid-Atlantic division, which has stores in North Carolina, eastern West Virginia and Virginia, received some shipments of the potentially-affected products, she said.

Kroger stores in Indiana and Illinois — and Food 4 Less and Jay C stores in the Midwest — got just limited amounts of the 80/20 ground beef in 1-pound and 3-pound packages, Howard said.