I just finished my speech at the GMA Food Litigation Conference and will be heading to the University of Chicago School of Law shortly.  Tomorrow I will be speaking in upstate Minnesota at the MEHA Conference.  Yesterday I attended the sustainable food conference in D.C. and still am perplexed why food safety was not a major part of the discussion.  Local, organic, sustainable and small farms also need to focus on making sure that their products do not sicken their customers.  They need more than just the platitude  of “know your farmer, know your food.”  At the conference I did get an opportunity to meet the Prince of Wales (who gave a great speech) and Secretary Vilsack who off the record said to me “thank you for helping to make our food safer.”  Secretary Vilsack, you can to make our food a bit safer by deeming various non-O157 STECs adulterants before something like the below happens.

Screen shot 2011-05-05 at 7.30.58 AM.pngFour people died after eating raw beef served at a barbecue restaurant chain in Japan, broadcaster NHK reported Thursday.  Two young boys and two women fell sick and died of food poisoning at restaurants of the Yakiniku-zakaya Ebisu chain in Toyama and Fukui prefectures.

Dozens of other customers have also fallen sick in other prefectures.  The O-111 strain of E. coli bacteria was detected in the bodies of the dead boys, health authorities said.

Sources said a Tokyo meat wholesaler produced the beef exclusively for the barbecue chain.

The wholesaler told health ministry officials the meat was meant to be eaten cooked. They said the beef had been sliced, vacuum-packed and stored in refrigerators.

  • Jake Wells

    I’m all for food safety, but what happened to common sense. They ate raw meat. From what I’ve read (correct me if I’m wrong), but we’ll never get to 100% safe. My grandmother used to stress to me that you had to cook your meat well. She used a big old thermometer to check the temp. If cooking your meat to 160 degrees internally kills e coli, why is this not part of food safety? When did we stop being responsible for cooking our food properly? We blame others in society today including food safety. The food industry needs to help ensure the safety of our food, but don’t we have a part to play in this also?

  • doc raymond

    Jake, do you like to dip your toast in the runny yolk of a sunny side up fried egg?
    Do you ask for your steak or prime rib in a restaurant to be cooked medium or less, because you like pink, without asking if it was blade tenderized or not?
    Do you like to spread uncooked peanut butter on your bread for lunch?
    Do you let your Grandchldren lick the beaters after you have blended the raw cookie dough–just like you used to fight your brother to get to do when you were a child?
    Do you thoroughly wash the precut fruit you bought at the grocery store because you did not want the mess of slicing up that pineapple in your kitchen?
    Have you ever eaten Sushi, or been to France and ordered steak tartare?
    Have you ever been to a raw oyster bar?
    Do you ask for the sprouts to be omitted at Jimmy John”s when you order their great tuna salad sandwich?
    Do you not worry about cross contamination in your kitchen, even though you cook your meat to 160 degrees internally as measured by a thermometer? (and you are in the great minority if you do)
    Seriously Jake, who wants to bring these lethal pathogens into their kitchen at all?
    The restaurant cut corners on expensive pathogen testing to save a buck, and the regulatory authorities lacked sufficient resources to ensure that the restaurant was following the law regarding food safety. Sound familiar, Jake?
    Yep, they ate raw meat, and we eat undercooked beef, eggs and cookie dough. It is all about different cultures and practices. You cannot simply excuse the industry and blame them for eating what they prefer. Unless you have stopped ordering your eggs “sunny side up”.