Tractor-trailer full of tainted ground beef stolen

| 1/2/2008

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and American Fresh Foods, a Fort Worth, TX, meat production company, have issued a public health alert because about 14,800 pounds of ground beef products were stolen from the company’s parking lot last week.

Some of the product had tested positive for E.coli bacteria and was pulled back from sale to grocery stores and food-service operations. It was temporarily stored in a refrigerated truck on the plant’s property. The trailer also contained some uncontaminated beef products that were close to their expiration date.

“Consumers need to know that our meat products being sold through normal retail channels – such as grocery stores – are safe,” said Tim Biela, chief food safety and quality assurance officer for American Fresh. “Our primary concern, however, is for the safety of those people who may be persuaded to buy beef products under questionable circumstances. Our first priority is their safety. We do not know how this product has been handled since it left our control. The stolen truck had only a limited supply of refrigeration fuel.”

American Fresh Foods is offering a reward for information leading to the retrieval of the stolen property. The trailer has an “Xtra Lease” logo on both side panels toward its rear and is described as a 2000 Great Dane model with the trailer number Q61232. The truck has a Maine license plate number 1925071.

Anyone who may have seen the stolen trailer is urged to contact the Fort Worth Crime Stoppers hotline at (817) 469-8477.

– By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer