Monday, February 18, 2008

Has Beef Been Poisoning School Kids?

Company Orders Largest Recall of Ground Beef - New York Times

Risk of Beef with BSE and E coli

The beef recall follows release of an undercover video by The Humane Society of "downer" cows, that carry an increased risk of BSE, entering the food chain illegally

“The great majority has probably been consumed,” said Dr. Richard Raymond, the Agriculture Department’s under secretary for food safety.

The video was embarrassing for the Department of Agriculture, as inspectors are supposed to be monitoring slaughterhouses for abuse. It surfaced after a year of increasing concerns about the safety of the meat supply amid a sharp increase in the number of recalls tied to a particularly deadly form of the E. coli pathogen.

There were 21 recalls of beef related to the potentially deadly strain of E. coli last year, compared with eight in 2006 and five in 2005. No one is quite sure what caused the increase, though theories include the cyclical nature of pathogens and changes in cattle-feeding practices caused by the ethanol boom.

The recall on Sunday was more than four times bigger than the previous record, the 1999 recall of 35 million pounds of ground beef by Thorn Apple Valley, federal officials said.

1 comment:

Ben Wright said...

The effectiveness of the Humane Society's video demonstrates how technology compels all citizens and organizations to be ever more diligent about complying with laws and regulations.