Beef Recall Expanded

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A recall of contaminated hamburger linked to E. coli bacteria illnesses among 18 people is being expanded to 18 million pounds and 21 states, the Agriculture Department said Friday.

The beef recall by ConAgra Beef Co. of Greeley, Colo., expands a previous recall at the end of last month. E. Coli bacteria associated with the beef has sickened at least 18 people in Colorado, South Dakota and Wyoming, the agency said.

ConAgra is cooperating with the Agriculture Department, officials said.

Two weeks ago, the company recalled 354,200 pounds of ground beef and nearly a month after a positive E. coli test at a Denver packing house raised the first sign of trouble.

E. coli is a bacteria found in the intestinal tracts and feces of livestock.

If it contaminates meat, it can lead to digestive illnesses and potentially death in humans. Health officials have been urging consumers to cook their ground beef to 160 degrees in the center to completely kill the pathogen.