Digest – News: Another day, another million pounds of beef recalled

Gazillionth recall + question for readers: Cargill is recalling more than 1 million pounds of ground beef after a USDA test found E. coli. The meat was distributed to retailers across the country, including Giant, ShopRite, Wegmans and Weis. Now a reader poll: How many of you buy factory ground beef and thus find our publishing these endless recall notices useful? No judgment here, but feel free to post anonymously if you wish. (New York Times)

Bad beef in Canada: The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is warning the public not to consume a long list of potentially E. coli-laced beef products, all originating from the same packer that supplied now-defunct Topps in the U.S. (Inspection.gc.ca) Related: U.S. to boost testing of imported Canada meat)

Australian bees cleared: A virus linked to the strange disappearance of honeybees did not arrive in the United States via recently imported Australian hives, according to a new genetic analysis. (ScienceNOW)

Who do you guys work for again?: The House Agriculture Committee held a one-sided hearing the other day about technology in the meat industry. The witnesses were from Cargill, Tyson, Hormel, Iowa State University, and the USDA. That's right, no consumer advocates or public-health experts to complain about deceptively fresh, carbon-monoxide-gassed meat packages — or ask for better product safety in general. Several consumer groups put out a press release decrying the witness list.

Watching English waste lines: The U.K. government has launched a "Love Food Hate Waste" campaign to raise consumer awareness of grocery waste, and to show how it can be cut. (Guardian)

A real gray area: Suzanne Nelson (who, by the way, blogs at Honest Human) covers the ongoing fight by North Carolina consumers to be able to purchase unpasteurized milk, which the state now plans to dye charcoal gray to ensure it only goes to pets. (Independent Weekly)

Smashing idea: A Utah animal rescue sanctuary is conducting a food drive for used jack-o'-lanterns. Farm animals apparently adore the stuff. (Deseret Morning News)

Statistical ammo: For Food and Farm Bill followers, the Congressional Research Service has issued a handy report called "Comparison of the House and Senate 2007 Farm Bills." It consists of 23 pages of tables comparing the two versions on a number of issues, like direct payments, meat and poultry inspection, bioenergy, and more. ( FarmPolicy.com (PDF))

Gov. Ed goes to Washington: Why would the Bush administration pick Ed Schafer, previously governor of North Dakota, a state that gets more farm program money than anyone else? Dan Owens at the Center for Rural Affairs finds a hometown newspaper article that explains some possible motives for the alliance.

Yikes: 15,000 ducks burned to death in a Hudson Valley Foie Gras facility. (Times Herald-Record) Related: HVFG co-owner Michael Ginor comments on the fire over at Michael Ruhlman's blog

More than 40 groups sign letter urging USDA Organic label not be granted to carnivorous farmed fish like salmon (Press release)

Dangers in microwave popcorn — diacetyl and fluorooctanoic acid, to name two (The Olympian)


18 Responsesto “Digest – News: Another day, another million pounds of beef recalled”

  1. Janet says:

    Poll response: I don't buy the beef, although I'm sure I've eaten a burger or two at this cookout or that.

  2. jen maiser says:

    I don't buy factory ground beef, but don't mind seeing the notices. You could just put a constant footer on all posts that says "Beef recall today by Some Large Company USA".

  3. I wonder if we'll reach a point where a restaurant will bring out a label from their meat shipments for the customer to inspect -- much like the ritual of a wine purchase. "Here it is, sir, the Lot #3297A, October 22, 2007 vintage." The careful customer can then use gMeat or another mobile phone application to double check the recall notices (which, of course, might not list every lot that has been recalled because of delays at the USDA or FDA).

  4. T.Gray says:

    We eat ground beef in spaghetti sauce fairly often. Please continue the posts about tainted beef.

  5. We do buy from Giant Eagle, which was also included in the recall. However, we only buy the "Nature's Basket," which is (allegedly) hormone-free, anti-biotic free. I just got off of the phone w/ Giant Eagle customer service to see if Cargill also produces/processes the Nature's Basket brand. The rep didn't know, but said some one will get back to me. I'll probably do an update on my own poorly-read food blog, but will also post the information here, as some people might find the information about the farms that produce the beef and who processes it of interest.

    Not surprisingly, there is little specific information about Giant Eagle's Nature's Basket beef, pork, or chicken on their Web site. I've read a pamphlet in the store which says they are hormone-free, anti-biotic free, fed an organic diet, which can include both grass and grains, but no animal by-products. It would be nice to get more specifics.

    I will be stocking up shortly on pork, chicken, and beef from some local farms, but only have so much freezer space to get me through the winter (my grass-fed beef order couldn't be filled because the farmer is out, but there are some other options I'm looking into).

  6. kar_kar says:

    I don't buy factory ground beef but it's interesting to see all the recalls (reinforces my decision to buy from the farm and not the grocery store).

  7. anne says:

    I love your posts about the bad beefs. sad beefs. I do love beef, but try to only eat the holy goodness organic free range mom 'n' pop stuff. the more posts, the merrier.

    thanks for cow-catching all the news and recalls, ethicurian!

  8. Susan says:

    I don't buy the factory-farmed beef, but I'm sure I occasionally eat it when I order a burger at a local pub. Please continue posting about the recalls. I'd hate to think they've become so common that we all stop paying attention and/or commenting upon them.

  9. joehawkins says:

    i don't eat factory beef or eat it in restaurants... but, my friends and family do, so i appreciate the information.

  10. idlehouse says:

    i don't buy factory ground beef so whew. But my family members do, so it's useful

  11. ExPat Chef says:

    It's in our kid's school lunches, so post away. Gives me more ammunition to try and get a farm-to-school food program in place. :)

  12. For anybody who might be from the Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia area, here is what I learned about the beef recall and our local grocery store chain, Giant Eagle, as well as some additional information about Tyson and its entry into the beef market earlier this decade.

  13. Flaime says:

    I buy Laura's Beef. I don't know if it is factory ground or not. It's advertised in such a way that one would think tht it isn't supposed to be, but who knows.

  14. msk says:

    Your notices have pushed me to be increasingly careful about meat. I haven't bought any beef at a grocery store (that includes Whole Foods, whose labels are just a little vague a good amount of the time) in awhile. I avoid it now at restaurants the vast majority of the time. The only time I grin and bear it is at other people's homes, where I feel rude refusing something (which, even without accompanying lecture, usually makes people feel annoyed/guilty/angry/you name it).

  15. Anna says:

    I don't eat this kind of beef, but I alert my friends who do, and it's useful since they are becoming more conscious of the frequency and deadliness of this episodes.

  16. I don't eat factory farmed meat at home, and rarely in restaurants, but, my parents, sadly do. And it helps me keep them appraised of the situation regarding food safety, so please, keep noting the recalls.

    It would be interesting, if after a year or so, someone could come up with a graphic representation of the recalls month by month.

    It might be a useful thing that folks could post on their blogs to visually show readers how unsafe factory farmed meat really is.

  17. tasterspoon says:

    I don't really register the specifics of announced recalls, so I wouldn't be able to tell family and friends, but since one of my reasons for going to grass-fed (et cetera) or not at all is fear of the alternative, your alerts serve as reassuring validation.

  18. leslie says:

    i don't eat the factory ground beef (don't eat much meat at all, as it were, and like to know where it came from when i do) but think the information is valuable--i can forward to my friends and family, and i just think it's important to get the word out on the failings of our food systems..even the most jaded among us must be a little more shocked each time, and more likely to bring it up at the dinner table...