Friday, February 22, 2008

Beef Madness, Part 1112

My father, the brilliant laboratory director at Northeast Laboratories pointed out one of those other basic facts I often neglect to mention in the blog. The recalled beef is being tossed because of concerns it may be contaminated with e.coli 0157. Beef containing e.coli 0157 is considered to be an adulterated product and must be disposed of- this despite the fact that such beef could be cooked and would be perfectly safe. Under current regulations, that beef can't even be used for dog food. Meanwhile, while the beef with e.coli must be tossed, the chicken sitting next to the beef on the shelf can be sold even if it contains salmonella. You've all heard the warnings to wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw chicken? Well that's because- from what I've heard- 20 to 80% of the raw chicken on store shelves actually contain salmonella.

Relatively speaking, it's much easier to produce raw beef for the public that is e.coli free than it is to produce raw chicken for the public that is salmonella free. Why do we treat these pathogens differently? Because we can - and because there would be a public outcry if raw chicken was banned from our stores.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The very best solution for the concerned consumer - not buying meat at all.

11:13 AM  
Blogger lonely libertarian said...

I've been blogging about the recall because that has been response in some quarters and it's a response that's just so far divorced from reality.

If you have an issue with factory farming and animal cruelty, this could be a wakeup call for you, but for those of us that don't plan on giving up inexpensive chicken, beef, and pork, there is no cause for alarm. From a food safety perspective, the biggest danger we face is raw vegetables, which have been the source of the major e.coli outbreaks that have made the news over the past several years.

The point is, there's not a lot of reason to worry.

10:23 AM  

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