Walmart Recalls 8 Tons Of Ground Beef — Here's What To Know

If you've recently purchased ground beef from Walmart, don't even think about cooking with it. On May 1, 2024, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service issued a recall for over 16,000 pounds of raw ground beef products potentially infected with E. coli, one of the many harmful microbes that cause food poisoning. That's approximately eight tons of meat, all of which came from Cargill Meat Solutions, a major meat and poultry provider for grocery stores, restaurants, and food manufacturers.

According to the recall, the contaminated ground beef products were manufactured on April 26 and 27, and feature the label "EST. 86P" on the back of the box scale. In a press release published on May 2, 2024, Cargill Meat Solutions stated that the dangerous products were only sent to storefronts in the states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia, as well as the district of Washington D.C. However, the company chose to call back eight tons of meat nationwide "out of an abundance of caution and in coordination with the USDA." 

Cargill Meat Solutions has also set up a customer hotline at +1 (844) 419-1574, where consumers can call in and speak with a representative to answer any questions. Specific product names and lot codes can be found on the USDA recall page.

Avoid a bout of E. coli and learn to store ground beef safely

While officials have not linked any recent reports of food poisoning to the recalled products as of May 3, don't ever risk the chance of contracting E. coli. Strains of this bacteria can cause a wide array of nasty symptoms, including high fever, bloody diarrhea, and vomiting. In rare cases, E. coli infection may even induce kidney failure, so don't take this recall lightly and throw out any potentially contaminated products.

To further protect yourself from foodborne illness, don't make the common mistake of storing ground beef at the top of your refrigerator. If the packaging becomes compromised, raw meat juices can leak out and drip down. By placing meat products at the bottom of the fridge, you prevent the rest of your items from becoming contaminated. You should also keep your ground beef in its original packaging until you're ready to cook, as the absorbent pads inside serve the important purpose of soaking up excess moisture.

Lastly, while the naked eye can't gauge if a package of ground beef has been affected by E. coli, there are some sensory cues that indicate spoilage. Any rancid odors, changes in color, and/or a slimy texture means that your meat has expired and should be thrown out immediately.