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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Consumers Are Responsible For Beef Safety Too

Or, the Meat Industry believes that it is the consumer’s responsibility to get cow shit out of its product.  Seriously, can you think of one consumer product that the manufacturer expects you to fix it, AFTER they make it, and BEFORE you use it.

I just read an article in “Cattle Networks” about industry irresponsibility and consumer responsibility.  Please read the whole article by clicking on the below photo:

Consumers may take for granted the safety of their beef supply and, therefore, may think it will remain safe until preparation.

– Think how often you see advertising for eating meat and how often you see advertising explaining the dangers of bacterial or viral contamination – right, never

– First, let make this very clear, what the meat industry is trying to say is that it is OK to have cow shit in your meat and you should buy a lot, but just handle it like it is radioactive and may kill you or your children.

Not everyone lives right next to a grocery store, so it is anticipated that beef products will undergo a period of time when storage temperature will be inadequate. Beef can become contaminated with pathogens if it reaches temperatures that support pathogenic growth.

– Does the beef industry really expect consumers to all own refrigerated trunks or carry coolers to the store to handle the toxic substance?

– Again, get the cow shit out of our hamburger and perfect storing temperature, important yes, but less life threatening.

A common place for cross contamination to occur is in the grocery bag. Juices from raw meat products can drip onto other food items.

– I’m sorry; this is the consumer’s responsibility?

Raw meat products stored in the refrigerator can drip onto other food items if not wrapped and stored in the meat compartment of the refrigerator.

– Come on – get the poop out. As the folks at www.donteatpoop.com say – “Don’t Eat Poop.”

Although cross contamination of raw meat products can be a problem, most instances can readily be solved with adequate cooking temperatures. Different beef retail cuts have different methods and ways in which they can be prepared. Regardless of retail cut, cooking ground hamburger patties, steaks, or roasts to an internal temperature of 160° F is a sufficient temperature. The majority of consumers who prepare meat at home rely on visual cues to evaluate doneness. This can be deceiving when using a cooking method such as grilling. Grilling can cause beef to turn brown very fast on the outside, which may lead a consumer to think that the proper cooking temperature has been reached. Because color cannot accurately determine temperature, it is not safe to use the color of beef as an indicator of safety. The only way to ensure that an internal temperature of 160° F has been reached is to use a thermometer.

– OK, honestly, who has a thermometer and who uses it?

Since 2002, the number of meat recalls and E. coli outbreaks connected to ground beef had been steadily declining, and our focus shifted from contamination in meat processing facilities to spinach and lettuce fields—until now. Since January, over 6.5 million pounds of meat have been recalled this year for potential E. coli contamination.  Some interesting real facts:

–  In April, Richwood Meat Co. of Merced, California, recalled 107,900 pounds of frozen ground beef products, and HFX of South Claysburg, Pennsylvania, recalled 4,900 pounds of meat products. Both companies’ products had been linked to E. coli outbreaks.

–  In May, PM Beef Holdings of Windom, Minnesota, recalled 117,500 pounds of beef trim products, and Davis Creek Meats and Seafood of Kalamazoo, Michigan, recalled 129,000 pounds of beef products after their products were linked to E. coli outbreaks.

–  In June, the Meat Market of Fresno, California, recalled tri-tip and United Food Group of Vernon, California, recalled 5.7 million pounds of ground beef when the products were identified as the source of E. coli outbreaks, and Tyson Fresh Meats of Sherman, Texas, recalled 440,000 pounds of ground beef for possible E. coli contamination.

–  In July, Custom Pack of Hastings, Neb. recalled 5,920 pounds of ground beef and buffalo products due to potential E. coli contamination after illness was linked to consumption of the company’s products.

–  In August, Interstate Meats issued its ground beef recall after nine became ill with E. coli infections.

–  So far in September, Fairbank Farms of Ashville, N.Y., voluntarily recalled 884 pounds of ground beef products because they may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S.

So, meat industry – get the poop out.  And, consumers, do not eat the industry’s shit.