The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that Fairbank Farms is voluntarily recalling 545,699 pounds of fresh ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli bacteria.

The company said on Friday (30 October) that it became aware of the problem during an investigation into a cluster of E. coli illnesses.

The fresh ground beef products subject to recall and illnesses are centred in the Connecticut, Maine and Massachusetts counties.

The recalls include Trader Joes, Price Chopper, Lancaster and Wild Harvest, Shaw's, BJ's, Ford Brothers and Giant products.

Each package bears the establishment number "EST. 492" inside the USDA mark of inspection or on the nutrition label. The products were packaged on 15 and 16 September and may have been labelled at the retail stores with a sell-by date from 19-28 September.

The products were sent to distribution centres, intended for further distribution to retail establishments in Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.