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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

One way to avoid meat recalls: Wait for test results

I read the headline of Julie Schmit’s article in USA TODAY and had the overwhelming desire to say “duhh!” as my 15-year-old often says of me to me. I then read further:

The federal government may move to keep meat off the market until its tests confirm the meat doesn’t have harmful bacteria, a step that officials say could have prevented some of this year’s 53 meat recalls. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which regulates meat and poultry, may require meat producers to hold product that’s been routinely tested by the government until test results come back, says Kenneth Petersen, assistant administrator for the USDA. "It’s not in anybody’s interest to do all of these recalls."

“Test and Hold.” All that I can say is my daughter is right.

  • We must remember that testing has its limitations, namely sample size. Low levels of contamination have the possibility of not being picked up. So it is impossible to say something is 100% safe because it was tested…see raw milk. We must continue to build safety into the system, from the farm through to the consumer. For the consumer, this means ensuring all food is cooked thoroughly (hamburger greater than 155F for 15 sec, pizza greater than 165F for 15 sec, etc), especially when using a microwave.