Food recalls put grocers, consumers on alert

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Going to the grocery store can be a challenge, when some of your favorite items are being yanked from the shelves.

The latest recall came earlier this week. More than 12 million pounds of raw beef that was shipped around the U.S. was pulled, because it may be contaminated with salmonella.

When a recall like this is ordered, officials at the 32 Festival Foods stores in Wisconsin all move into gear.

"They get them off the shelf super quick. We have access to their response time,” Stephanie Teclaw, quality assurance and regulatory affairs manager with Skogen's Festival Foods, said to WEAU 13 News on Friday. “So we're able to see by each store how many hours or how many minutes each store takes to remove that from their shelf."

Teclaw said one type of recall which can be tricky for stores to keep up with deals with ingredient recalls, where one ingredient can be found in several different products.

She said once a recall is sent out, Festival Foods has roughly three to six hours to get the item off all of its stores’ shelves.

Manish Acharya, an emergency medicine doctor at HSHS St. Joseph's Hospital in Chippewa Falls, said the best line of defense may be how you prepare your food.

"A lot of its preventive and the key thing I find is really those knives,” he said to WEAU 13 News on Friday. “You know, you're cutting raw chicken, you know make sure it's washed and cleaned before using it to prepare the chicken."

If an illness does develop, Dr. Acharya said getting it checked out may be for the best.

"If you're having severe abdominal pain, it's important for us to be able to press on your belly, differentiate it, and make sure it's not appendicitis or something else that's presenting or looking like you know a virus or a food-borne illness," he said.

"It's important, I think, to use some detective work in figuring that out. Then, once you determine that, then it's also important to report that back to the institution that you bought the food product from, because that way they can track it."