While the U.S. Department of Agriculture has yet to identify the locations where shipments of recalled ground beef were sent, the state’s largest grocery store chain says it has not been affected by the recall.

Eric Blom, a spokesman for Hannaford, which has nearly 60 locations in Maine, said none of the company’s stores received shipments from All American Meats Inc., a Nebraska meat processor that recalled more than 167,000 pounds of ground beef Sunday over fears that it might be tainted with E. coli bacteria.

Shaw’s supermarkets, Maine’s other major grocery store chain, also was not affected. A Shaw’s spokeswoman said Monday evening that the chain does not carry products from All American Meats.

Market Basket, which operates a store in Biddeford, also does not have a relationship with All American Meats, according to a spokesman.

All American Meats did not return a call for comment Monday. However, the company’s attorney, Brian Brislen, told the Omaha World-Herald that it wasn’t clear where distributors might have sent the potentially tainted meat.

The USDA announced the Class I recall Sunday and said the problem was discovered Friday by federal inspectors who traced ground beef that tested positive for E. coli back to the Nebraska company. The meat was processed on Oct. 16 and sold to distributors in 60- and 80-pound packages, most of which were repackaged and sold to consumers.

All of the recalled beef had a sell-by date of Nov. 3 and an inspection number of 20420. The USDA said no illnesses have been linked to the beef.

Kristen Felicione, a USDA spokeswoman, said a nationwide recall means that at least 12 states were affected, but she couldn’t say which states received the beef. She also said that the USDA typically releases a distribution list of stores and companies affected by a recall, but that list was not available Monday.

The Maine Department of Agriculture also sent out the federal recall notice Monday as a courtesy, according to spokesman John Bott, but he said he had no information about whether any Maine retailers were affected.

Class I recalls are the most serious involving meat and poultry. According to the USDA, these recalls create “a health hazard situation where there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death.”

Last year, there were 94 recalls by the USDA, 63 of them Class I. Of those 94, 22 involved beef, the largest of which was a recall of 568,000 pounds of beef products in May.

E. coli is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause dehydration, bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps. Children under the age of 5 and the elderly are most at risk.

The federal government approved rule changes last year that require grocery stores that grind beef to track the source of their meat as a way to identify possible sources of contaminated meat.

That gap in the nation’s food-safety system was the focus of a Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram special report, “Anatomy of a Recall,” published in March 2012. The investigation found that the USDA had known since 1998 that better record-keeping was needed to help food-safety investigators trace sources of contaminated meat and prevent additional illnesses.


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