OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — ConAgra Foods Inc. has asked stores to stop selling pot pies linked to a salmonella outbreak and is offering refunds for the turkey and chicken-filled meals.

The company and the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Wednesday defended their decision not to immediately recall the product.

ConAgra asked stores nationwide to pull the Banquet and generic brand chicken and turkey pot pies after two East Coast grocery chains made their own choice to remove the product from their shelves.

The pot pies made by ConAgra have been linked to at least 152 cases of salmonella in 31 states. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said at least 20 people have been hospitalized as part of the ongoing outbreak, but so far no deaths have been linked to the pot pies.

The company and federal officials warned customers not to eat the pot pies and to throw them away, and ConAgra is offering refunds.