Tuesday, August 31, 2010


From the Washington Post courtesy of
the Huffington Post news wire:

USDA announces recall of ground beef suspect of E. coli contamination

About 8,500 pounds of ground beef that might be contaminated with a type of E. coli bacteria are being recalled by a company in Pennsylvania, the Department of Agriculture announced Saturday.

The department said its Food Safety and Inspection Service found a link between the recalled ground beef and three instances of illness in New York and Maine.

The service said Cargill Meat Solutions of Wyalusing, Pa., shipped the beef in question in cases of 14-pound packages, called chubs, to distribution centers in Connecticut and Maryland for further distribution in smaller packages for consumers. They were sold under different retail brand names, the department said.


And from AboutLawsuits.com, also courtesy of the Huffington Post news wire:

Ground Beef Recall: 1M Pounds Pulled After E. Coli Outbreak in California

At least seven people in California have fallen ill due to E. coli food poisoning after eating ground beef, leading to the recall of one million pounds of ground beef sold in California, Texas, Oregon and Arizona.

The ground beef recall was announced on August 6 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) after it was notified by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) of a cluster of E. coli food poisoning victims who all had the exact same strain of E. coli O157:H7. So far, seven people have been confirmed as sick due to the ground beef E. coli food poisoning outbreak; six of them fell ill between April 8 and June 18, 2010, and there was one other case involving the same strain in February.


This is the 12th meat recall this year, and more than doubles the amount of meat that’s been pulled from stores in 2010, to a total of 1,786,859 pounds. There have been about 1,650 cases of E. coli illness to date, which puts 2010 on track to have significantly fewer E. coli sickness cases than 2009, which had 4,253 in total.


Right. This happens all the time, and is apparently getting worse. Our "liberal" president, who is quite clearly a good friend to the corporations who own and operate the country, has introduced some mild reform in the area of food safety regulation, but obviously not enough to put the fear of god into gigantic agri-business. All this shit, as I've written before repeatedly whenever one of these food scares happens, is the result of three decades worth of Washington deregulation fever.

I'm beginning to think that "good for business" means caveat emptor in Latin. That is, deregulation, in plain English, means "fuck you."

You know, this shouldn't be too hard to control, either, from a strictly pragmatic point of view. Eric Schlosser's groundbreaking and astonishing book Fast Food Nation details how Jack in the Box stopped the chronic E. coli scares of the late 80s and early 90s in their tracks: all they had to do was threaten to end massive contracts with beef vendors. Faced with crippling losses, meat producers, at least the ones doing business with Jack, changed their practices and started shipping untainted meat to their bigtime client.

All the feds have to do is hit the beef industry with something on the scale of losing huge contracts, you know, extraordinarily huge fines that existentially threaten these businesses. But as long as corporate friend Obama timidly sits in the Oval Office, continually looking for ways to please our corporate overlords, that ain't gonna happen.

As for me, I'm going to avoid hamburgers, and eggs, for the foreseeable future. You know, the reason there's E. coli in the meat is because of stomach spillage during processing, which happens so frequently these days because the meat industry long ago fired its trained and experienced butchers, replaced them with minimum wage unskilled workers, and sped up the packing process in order to make more money. That is, there's shit in the meat because the meat industry thinks it's just fine to increase its profit margin by putting people's lives in danger.

And cooking your burger to medium only kills the E. coli. The shit's still there. Yum, delicious shit-burger!