Thursday, August 06, 2009

USDA Recalls Massive Amount of Ground Beef for Samonella Contamination...Strain of Salmonella is Reportedly Antibiotic Resistant

Arizona, California, Colorado & Utah received contaminated beef now involved in a Class 1 (you could die) Recall: The Food Safety and Inspection Service of USDA is recalling approximately 825,769 of ground beef from Beef Packers, Inc., a Fresno, Calif., establishment. The particular strain of Salmonella that has been identified by sampling the beef is antibiotic resistant, according to health officials, so...that's a big problem, and means anyone ill from the bug could potentially require a long hospital stay, and suffer permanent health problems. And while "Class 1 Recall" mean there's the potential for death from contaminated product, rather than, say, just the hurls & trots, the recall is still voluntary. No restaurant, market, etc. is required to turn in their product, or pull it from their shelves. This is an unfortunate policy leftover from previous administrations, and remains the case today despite big Obama admin movement in food safety, including new guidelines from President Obama's Food Safety Working Group, and the recent passage by the House of a landmark food safety bill. Production dates for the poison beef were between June 5 and June 23, so check your freezers...and look for the recalls of much more poundage in the next few weeks. Click here for all the info that's on USDA's website, including how to attempt to identify your beef. (Above: Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Seblius at a stop on the Rural Tour; food safety in the US is a joint project between their departments)

The Food Safety and Inspection Service of USDA is still without an appointed leader, as Ob Fo has noted for the last few months; Secretary Vilsack has cited conflict of interest issues, among other things. It'd be good to have someone in charge at the FSIS, which oversees all meat, poultry and eggs...because the USDA is doing pretty swell in every other area.