Really, I do not mean to beat up on Con Agra just because they are in the middle of yet another product outbreak and recall, however, Con Agra’s past recalls raise some interesting issues with respect to the effectiveness, or lack thereof, of recalls. Here are some interesting examples:
Peter Pan Peanut Butter Salmonella Tennessee Outbreak and Recall February 14, 2007
As of April 23, 2007 there were 481 Salmonella Tennessee culture-positive cases. Than means about 60 people ate the product after the recall. Even more interesting is that the end count of the outbreak (June 2007) was 714 cases. That means that nearly 300 cases became ill AFTER the recall.
Banquet Pot Pie Salmonella I 4,5,12:i:-* Outbreak and Recall October 8, 2007
As of October 8, 2007 there were 283 Salmonella I 4,5,12:i:-* culture-positive cases. The total number of ill counted in January 2008 were 401. That means about 120 people ate the product AFTER the recall.
I think that you have to assume that people did not knowingly eat contaminated product and that they honestly did not know that the product that was in their pantry or freezer, or still in the grocery store had in fact been recalled. I think it would be interesting to interview the folks who became ill post-recall. CDC, you have the names and numbers.