U.S. Food and Safety Inspection Service says stores in 9 states may have tainted beef

STUART — Federal food inspectors said an Italian restaurant was one of a handful nationwide that may have received tainted beef from a Detroit company.

The ground beef was produced between March 31 and April 18 and sent by the Wolverine Packing Company to Giorgio’s Italian Delicatessen, located at 132 S.W. Monterey Road in Stuart, along with restaurants in other parts of the country, said the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.

The meat has been recalled and federal officials are still determining other locations where it could have been shipped.

Testing of the beef determined it contained the E. coli bacteria, officials said. The bacteria can cause dehydration, bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps, according to the USDA.

In a statement, the Stuart restaurant said its distributor did a review of the meat sent to Giorgio’s and determined none of the tainted beef arrived there.

The deli “maintains the safety of our customers is our highest priority,” the restaurant states.

WPTV spoke with Paul Giorgio, owner of Giorgio's Italian Market and he says any bad meat they received came last month and has been disposed of.

Giorgio’s is giving Thursday’s customers a free tossed salad with their lunch purchase to underscore the deli’s “commitment to offering healthy, wholesome food to the Martin County area.”

People become ill from E. coli three to four days after ingesting the tainted beef. As of Thursday, the Department of Health in Martin County had no reports of anyone coming down with an illness related to E. coli, spokeswoman Renay Rouse said.

Food safety investigators were notified about E. coli-related illnesses on May 8. They found 11 patients who were ill in four states between April 22 to May 2.