We should be able to trust the Food and Drug Administration to protect us against foods that might not be safe for our consumption, right? I never would have questioned this before, but after Del Monte Fresh Produce recently filed a lawsuit that could have long-term consequences against the regulatory organization, I am starting to have my doubts.
Let me explain: The FDA recently forced Del Monte to halt the importation of its Guatemalan cantaloupes because there was a possibility that the fruits could have been contaminated with salmonella. Then, Del Monte fired back against the FDA with a lawsuit. This all seems like standard operations, but the problem is that in the future, it is possible that the FDA will become more reluctant to issue warnings against possibly-contaminated foods for fear of being taken to court.
So far the recall only focuses on the Southeast region of the United States, focusing on products sold mainly in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina and Tennessee. The ground beef was supplied by National Beef Packaging Co. of Dodge City, Kan. and was sold in Winn-Dixie, Publix and Kroger grocery stores.
The USDA says that the tainted beef may be contaminated with E. coli 0157:H7 bacteria, a particularly troubling strain of E. coli. This strain of E. coli can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration and, in the most severe cases, kidney failure. As with any foodborne illness, the very young, seniors and persons with weak immune systems are the most susceptible, according to the USDA.
There have been at least two cases of salmonella food poisoning caused by tainted ground turkey in the U.S. so far this summer. Strangely enough, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention knew where these tainted meats were coming from two weeks ago, but they did not issue a recall on the poisonous food because they “simply did not have enough information,” according to Fox News.
“There were two cases in the same state, and in two days we were able to confirm that the two cases were related to the [Cargill meat plant in Springdale, Arkansas],” said Dr. David Goldman, an assistant administrator from the USDA-Food Safety and Inspection Service.
That sounds like enough information to issue a recall to me, but Goldman claims that this really isn’t enough to warrant one.
UPDATE [7/27/11]: This recall has been expanded to include Starbucks salami and cheese Bistro Box and the chipotle chicken wrap. There has also been a separate recall of Pilgrim’s Pride chicken nuggets.
Those that frequent Starbucks coffee shops in Georgia and Alabama will want to be on the lookout for chicken products that have been recalled recently. Flying Food Group is the company that produces the Starbucks Chipotle Chicken Wrap Bistro Box and the Starbucks Chicken and Hummus Bistro Box. They have recently recalled both of these products due to Listeria monocytogene contamination.
Roughly 204 pounds of ready-to-eat chicken wraps and plates are being recalled in total. The products that are recalled have “Enjoy by 071511” on the bottom left corner of the package. They also have an establishment number of P-34373 within the USDA mark of inspection.
This problem was discovered through microbiological testing conducted by the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service or FSIS. There were no reports of illness with these products, but the FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks, which is how the contamination was found.
Due to salmonella contamination, Jennie-O recalled nearly 55,000 pounds of frozen raw turkey burgers. According to CNN, the contamination was uncovered during an investigation into three sicknesses linked to consuming the turkey burgers in Colorado, Ohio and Wisconsin. The last of these illnesses was reported on March 14, 2011.
According to the Jennie-O product recall website, the Jennie-O Turkey Store All Natural White Meat Turkey Burgers were sold exclusively at Sam’s Club. They come in four-pound boxes contained 12 patties each. Consumers should look for products with the “Use By Date” December 23, 2011 and the “Identifying Lot Codes” 32710 to 32780. They ask that any customer who purchased this product return it to a Sam’s Club location for a full refund.