Monday, November 30, 2009

How Ridiculous

I stopped eating beef over 10 years ago and never looked back. Every few months there's another food recall related to E. coli, salmonella, botulism, and whatever other food borne illness that's out there. Beef is not the only culprit, we've seen veggies such as spinach and other staples, such as peanut butter, take a hit as well. Perhaps it's just me, but I'm a tad bit concerned with the blatant lack of responsibility being displayed in the food industry and co-signed by the gov't. Okay, I may have stretched it with the botulism, but you get the point;-).

For example, here's
an excerpt from consumer advocate Clark Howard's syndicated radio show related to a recent beef recall:

Nov 17, 2009 -- Ground beef recall results after plant stopped E. coli testing
More than 500,000 pounds of ground beef was recalled late last month after two people died and estimated 500 were sickened by an E. coli outbreak, according to The New York Times.

The tainted beef came from a meat-packer in Ashville, N.Y. that reportedly stopped testing for E. coli two years ago at the request of beef suppliers (are you kidding me?!). Surprisingly, E. coli testing is not required by the Department of Agriculture. It's only recommended sans any legal enforcements for not doing it (okay, so we're just relying on self policing in an industry that can give a rats boom boom about anything other than profit?! Yeah, that's great and comforting to know. ***side note, this is just one example why relying on Gov't to "take care" of you is such an awful idea!)

The recall has prompted Trader Joe's to stop sourcing its meat from the affected plant (aah, my beloved Trader Joes. Way to go, take action!). The grocer also now wants its other suppliers to test all ground beef for the deadly bacteria.

Costco Wholesale is the only large national retailer that mandates E. Coli testing. Perhaps Costco can do so because it uses its own grinding facilities. (How sad. Great for Costco, sad that no one else gives a hoot.)

Too often it seems like the Department of Agriculture feels its responsibility is to protect processing plants and beef suppliers, not the American consumer. (yep, and amen.)

Clark is an unabashed free-marketer, but he knows that there needs to be some referees in place for capitalism to work optimally. The marketplace suffers when there's no cop on the beat. Consumers need to feel confident that the feds are on the case to make sure their food is safe.

***It's my plan to venture into a little square foot gardening this spring. We'll see if my plans come to fruition. Oh, and one last thing, if you haven't done so, you should check out the movie Food, Inc. I thought it was pretty well done.


Christine said...

Well over here, today, there is a big story on "is your chicken dinner safe" due to samonella.

Told my husband, "there is another reason to be vegetarian". (he still doesn't agree)

Of course, e coli can be found in mass agriculture with our veggies but it is not as prevalant as that found with meat. Plus we can grow our own veggies without re - irrigated water (what tends to cause e coli infections in mass agriculture farming).

Ms. MoneyChat said...

The producers of Food, Inc did a really good job showing the inside of the chicken business. I think you should rent it for family movie night;-).

Hmm, I didn't realize that re-irrigated water was the culprit in the veggies. It definitely makes sense.

WellHeeled said...

I became really afraid of eating ground beef after I read that article in the NY Times. It's hard, because I love IN-N-Out burgers!