I always feel a bit better when I know that the big national papers, like the Washington Post, are weighing in on something that I have been blogging about since Christmas Eve. Lyndsey Layton posted online an hour ago – “E. coli-tainted beef infects 21 people in 16 states.”

Unfortunately, even being inside the beltway, Ms. Layton too has been hitting the brick walls at the USDA and CDC that both seem to rely on saying as little as possible to be as unhelpful to the public as possible. Both seem to either know very little or cannot seem to coordinate information between themselves. Perhaps it is just the holidays or they are all helping out over at the TSA.

Of course we all know the basic facts – that National Steak and Poultry (NSP) recalled 248,000 pounds of beef December 24. In addition, according to the Post and FSIS, FSIS has only a partial list of restaurants that received the potentially tainted beef – so far Moe’s, Carino’s Italian Grill and KRM Restaurant Group (I have learned that Moe’s and Carino’s claim that no one became ill at their restaurants). However, the well-known rumor is that the “mechanically tenderized” products, which range from steaks to sirloin tips, were shipped to other, as yet unnamed, restaurants, hotels and institutions nationwide (hmm, NSP has been known to sell to the military in the past).

Ms. Layton did break new ground by getting the FSIS to confirm that 21 people have now been sickened in 16 states, with nine people hospitalized. This is up from 19 ill that the CDC confirmed a few hours earlier. FSIS has identified illnesses in only six states – Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, South Dakota and Washington (and that person ate the steak in Nebraska) despite the CDC saying that there are actually 16 states – 10, as yet unnamed.  These people give me a headache with all the transparency.

Well, I need to sign off to get to the airport early to get through TSA security.