Tainted meat not in local grocery stores

Published 12:13 am Sunday, March 9, 2014

NATCHEZ — Though local supermarkets were flagged by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for possibly receiving tainted meat earlier this year, Natchez store operators say they did not receive any of the affected products.

Ranchero Feeding Corporation, of Petaluma, Calif., recalled in mid-February more than 8.7 million pounds of beef products that may have been tainted after the company “processed diseased and unsound animals and carried out these activities without the benefit or full benefit of federal inspection,” according to the USDA.

Reports last week indicate the tainted products reached 31 states and Guam, and the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service included the five local locations of The Markets in a list of retailers the FSIS “has reason to believe” received the meat products.

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Vice President and Office Manager for The Markets Del Loy said the local chain was included in the recall because its upstream supplier, Associated Grocers, was flagged in a recall for Hot Pockets that may have contained the tainted meat.

“We did not receive any of those (Hot Pockets), we were clean and Associated Grocers did not have any, either, “ Loy said.

The Markets did not receive any of Ranchero Feeding Corporation’s meat products, he said.

Retail Operations Director and Treasurer for The Markets Barry Loy said the company has a digital alert system that sends emails and texts to the store whenever a recall for products on the shelves goes into effect.

“If we are in the affected area, we pull all products and send it back to the distributors,” Barry Loy said. “If we do get the messages, it tells us if we are in the affected areas or not.”

No one has reported getting sick from the meat, the USDA said.