Publix supermarkets are recalling some ground beef products from chuck that may have E. coli, the US Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service said Thursday.
A total of 18 people became sick between July 5 and July 25, the government agency said.
"Traceback information indicated that case-patients consumed ground chuck products purchased at various Publix Super Markets that was supplied by a yet-to-be determined source," the USDA said.
The USDA identified the strain of E. coli as Escherichia coli O26.
"Food safety is our top priority. We have been working closely with various federal agencies as we share the common goal of maintaining food safety and public health," Publix spokeswoman Maria Brous said.
She urged consumers to check their freezers for products purchased between June 25 and July 31. She said customers should dispose of it or bring it to a Publix for a refund.
The affected products are:
• Bacon and cheddar burgers
• Bacon and cheddar meatballs
• Bacon and cheddar slider
• Bacon and fried onion burger
• Bacon and fried onion meatball
• Bacon and fried onion slider
• Badia seasoned ground chuck burger
• Blue cheese burgers
• Blue cheese meatballs
• Blue cheese slider
• Ground chuck
• Ground chuck burgers
• Ground chuck for chili
• Ground chuck for meat loaf
• Ground chuck slider
• Jalapeño and cheddar slider
• Jalapeño and cheddar burger
• Jalapeño and cheddar meatballs
• Meat loaf grillers
• Mesquite seasoned ground chuck burger
• Montreal seasoned chuck burger
• Seasoned meatloaf (oven ready)
• Spanish meatballs
• Steakhouse seasoned ground chuck burger
• Stuffed peppers (oven ready)
• Stuffed pimento cheese burger
• Swiss and mushroom burger
• Swiss and mushroom meatball
• Swiss and mushroom slider
The meat was sold in 24 Florida counties. They are Brevard, Charlotte, Citrus, Collier, DeSoto, Flagler, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Marion, Orange, Osceola, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Lucie, Sumter, and Volusia.
The symptoms of STEC infections can include stomach cramps, watery or bloody diarrhea, and nausea and vomiting. Some infections are mild, but others can be life-threatening. People of all ages can be infected, but young children and the elderly are more likely to develop severe symptoms.
Symptoms begin about three to four days after consuming the bacteria, and most people get better within five to seven days.
To avoid E. coli infections, experts advise thoroughly cooking meat, avoiding unpasteurized dairy products and juices, avoiding swallowing water while swimming and washing hands regularly.