Header graphic for print
Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Stolen trailer found in Dallas; meat still missing

MISSING MEAT

Clarissa Kell-Holland of Land Line Magazine and I spoke today about the finding of the E. coli-tainted truck.  As she reported, the refrigerated trailer reported stolen from the American Fresh Foods parking lot in Fort Worth, Texas, has been found in Dallas.  However, more than 80 percent of the trailer’s 14,800 pounds of ground meat products – including some that tested positive for E. coli bacteria – are still missing.  The focus now is on protecting consumers who may have been “persuaded to buy beef products under questionable circumstances” like roadside stands or in parking lots, according to Agi Schafer, spokeswoman for American Fresh Foods.  I guess no one wanted the $10,000 reward.

So, I guess the questions for American Fresh Foods are several, but the ones that "poop" into mind are:

1.  What were you doing with E. coli-tainted hamburger sitting in your parking lot?

2.  What were you going to do with it?  Was it going to be destroyed?  Were you going to sell it as cooked product?

3.  Given that E. coli-tainted hamburger is a danger, how was someone able to back a big rig up to the trailer and drive it off your property?

4.  Because you knew the hamburger was adulterated by testing, I can assume that you have done genetic fingerprinting (PFGE) on the offending bug?  This will be helpful if people start showing up in ER’s with bloody stool.  If their stool is tested, and found to have E. coli, and if a PFGE is done, perhaps you can figure out who stole the truck by figuring out who sold the poisoned meat?  (CSI Dallas)

  • Good questions. I’d like to add one. Have any of their employees suddenly gone missing? If it’s not an inside job, it seems to me very unlikely that a random thief has the intuition to just happen to come across the trailer which just happens to be full of contaminated meat. Coupled with the fact that no random thief would likely go to the trouble of hitching a trailer to a truck (they just happened to bring a truck with them?), I don’t see how it could have been anyone but someone who works at AFF (or a close buddy looking to make a buck on the way to the border).
    One more question, then I’ll resign my rant. If ConAgra can blame their salmonella outbreak on consumer negligence, would American Fresh Foods be able to blame a potential e. coli outbreak on a thief? Or would it be their fault for leaving the contaminated meat vulnerable to being stolen?

  • American Fresh Foods Mystery Meat found in Chicken Shack

    It has been a busy week juggling poisoned spinach, peanut butter, pot pies and a rash of contaminated hamburger and milk – and dealing with emails from raw milk advocates, but I am still surprised that no one from Texas…