Though some would like to believe otherwise – that corners can be cut and money can be saved without making a difference – food safety is an area of the foodservice and food production industry whose importance can never be overemphasized. One of the big pathogens – Salmonella, Listeria, E. coli – is always rearing its head. This week it’s Salmonella, and the business left holding the bag is global producer Cargill Meat Solutions. Cargill’s Wyalusing, PA location has enacted a voluntary recall of 29,339 pounds of fresh ground beef this week, on the heels of a Salmonella Enteriditis outbreak that has sickened at least 33 people across the Eastern Seaboard.
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According to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) website, the specific products involved in the recall are 14-lb chub packages labeled “Grnd Beef Fine 85/15,” with the establishment number “EST. 9400” in the USDA mark of inspection. The chubs were packed three-to-a-42 lb case and sold wholesale for further processing. A later posting from the USDA adds a critical detail that much of the Cargill ground beef in question may have been repackaged and resold under the retailer name Hannaford throughout Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont.
But hey, why not keep cutting back on USDA, FSIS, and FDA funding, since everything is clearly working out flawlessly with the funding it has now. Providing more funding to expand inspection programs and ensure that food is produced and distributed to consumers safely and free of pathogens would probably be unnecessary.