Meat safety is better, but needs to be even better
I’m always interested to see what food safety lawyer Bill Marler has to say about the latest lapses. He often represents the innocent-but-unlucky victims of food poisonings. All they were doing was getting something to eat or feed their kids. They had no idea the food was contaminated with a deadly form of E. coli or Salmonella.
In a recent post, Marler reflected on the enormous progress made by meat producers in reducing pathogens in their products. Marler explains:
From the Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak of 1993 until the 2002 ConAgra E. coli outbreak, at least 95% of Marler Clark revenue was E. coli cases linked to hamburger. Today, it is nearly zero. That is success. To the beef industry – thank you for meeting the challenge…for now, hats off to you.
But, he points out, the meat industry must continue to act with vigilance, as demonstrated by the CDC’s recent safety warning about ground beef contaminated with toxic E. coli O103.
The CDC lists the statistics of this recent outbreak to date.
- Reported Cases: 177
- States: 10
- Hospitalizations: 21
- Deaths: 0
The recalls of ground beef have started.
- Grant Park Packing in Franklin Park, Ill., recalled approximately 53,200 pounds of raw ground beef products on April 24, 2019.
- K2D Foods, doing business as Colorado Premium Foods, in Carrollton, Ga., recalledapproximately 113,424 pounds of raw ground beef products on April 23, 2019.
Others may follow.
Meat producers: eternal vigilance, please. Lives are at stake.
As for food safety in general: The CDC says foodborne illness cases are increasing.
During 2018, FoodNet identified
- 25,606 infections
- 5,893 hospitalizations
- 120 deaths
Note: these are fully preventable.
And food producers must make sure that they are fully prevented.