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Grocers say meat recall won't affect local shoppers

January 29, 1999|By BRUCE HAMILTON

Grocers and supermarket spokesmen said Friday that local shoppers have no reason to worry about an expanded recall of meats processed at two United States plants.

Thorn Apple Valley, a meat processing plant in Arkansas, recalled products Jan. 22 that may be contaminated with bacteria, according to the Department of Agriculture.

A Michigan plant, Bil Mar Foods, recalled hot dogs and lunch meats Dec. 22. The Agriculture Department announced Thursday that both companies added more brands to the previous recalls.

The meats may contain a bacteria that can cause sickness when ingested. All Bil Mar's recalled products are identified by establishment numbers "EST 6911" or "P-261." All Thorn Apple Valley's recalled products bear codes "EST 13529" or "EST P13529."

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Anyone who bought a possibly contaminated product may "return it to the place of purchase for a full refund," according to a Bil Mar recorded message.

Locally, most major grocery stores do not carry the recalled products. Those affected by the recall pulled the items from their shelves.

Steve Hines, manager of the County Market on Pennsylvania Avenue in Hagerstown, said his store carries Thorn Apple Valley products. "If we had any products that were recalled they were pulled from the shelves," Hines said.

"No Food Lions carry any of that stuff," said Bill Winsor, assistant manager at the Smithsburg Food Lion.

Denny Hopkins, Martin's vice president of marketing, said the chain was not affected by Thorn Apple Valley's recall. Although Martin's carries some Bil Mar products, all the affected items were removed from the shelves, Hopkins said.

None of the products Weis sold had the specified lot numbers, but "we pulled them anyway," said Dennis Curtan, Weis spokesman. "You can never be too safe."

The products added in this week's announcement were "food service items" typically used in other institutions such as restaurants, colleges and prisons, according to Curtan. "It does not affect us in any way," he said.

Several smaller stores in the area reported not selling the suspect meats. Owners and managers at Wilson Store and Valley Market in Clear Spring, Pittman's Grocery in Hancock, BJ's Market in Hagerstown said they do not carry those products.

"Everything's fine," said Jane Dayoff, manager of American Convenience Store in Hagerstown.

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