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(NBC News) Michigan's Wolverine Packing Company is recalling 1.8 million pounds of ground beef potentially tainted with E. coli bacteria.
Eleven people in four states became ill with the severe stomach illness after eating ground beef in restaurants.
"This strain of E. coli is one of the most hazardous for consumers," says Caroline Smith DeWaal, Director of Food Safety for the Center for Science in the Public Interest. "It's infrequent that we have a major outbreak from E. coli these days but when it happens, it's very serious, and it can land quite a number of its victims in the hospital."
This time more than half to be hospitalized.
The meat was not sold in grocery stores or used in the national school lunch program. It would now be expired, but the concern is that some restaurants may have frozen the beef for later use.
In a statement, the company said none of its products tested positive for E. coli, but that it was stepping up efforts to make sure its "safety standards exceed customers' expectations."