Fresh ground beef that was recalled because of possible E. coli contamination may be linked with two deaths and 26 illnesses, according to a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention official.
The recall includes nearly 546,000 pounds of fresh ground beef distributed by Ashville, N.Y.-based Fairbank Farms to stores from Maine to North Carolina. The ground beef was sold in a number of forms, from hamburger patties to meatloaf and meatball mix, the Associated Press reported.
One death involved a New York adult with several underlying health conditions, said Lola Scott Russell of the CDC. The other death was in New Hampshire, where a patient died from complications, according to state health officials.
The strain of E. coli that prompted the recall is 0157:H7, which infects about 70,000 Americans a year and kills 52, Russell told the AP.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said customers with concerns should contact the stores where they buy their meat.