The ground beef recall due to salmonella reported this fall now expands considerably, mounting to 12 million pounds, and people are wondering just how high the numbers will go in the near future.
You’re at the grocery store. It’s been a hectic period of time for you. You’re intent on making Salisbury steak for dinner with all the trimmings. You know … caramelized onions, a red wine gravy, mashed potatoes and even some sautéed peas with ham (for that extra protein kick). You peruse the aisles in the refrigerated section at Wal-Mart and the weirdest thing, but you can’t find any ground beef anywhere. You look and look, but all you can seem to find are chicken and pork products. What the heck is going on? Finally, you flag down an employee and ask him what the rub is, and he looks at you like you’re from Mars or something. The employee proceeds to tell you, and as nicely as possible, but still with a hint of condescension: “Ground beef has been recalled … it’s all over the news.”
Indeed it was. This past fall, the news hit that close to 7 million pounds of ground beef were recalled after many cases of salmonella poisoning were reported across the United States. And now, just in time for the Holidays, a whopping 5.1 million pounds more were added to that recall, as even more cases of illness were reported.
This news is definitely disconcerting, and with recalls on Romaine Lettuce and cucumbers recently being reported, people are wondering about the state of our food and what this means for the future.
Salmonella is a parasite, or rather a micro parasite that grows and attaches itself to a host’s cellular system. Salmonella has been known to cause serious illness, even fatality, and of course the infamous Typhoid fever.
No fatalities have yet to be reported with this particular string of infection, but a reported 246 instances have been claimed as of yet, and the count is indeed rising. The infected beef has been sold under these particular brand names: Cedar River Farms Natural Beef, Wal-Mart, Showcase, Showcase/Walmart and also JBS Generic.
Who do we have to thank for the recall that’s keeping us safe?
The US Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service, who have recalled the ground beef and been on top of the situation since reports started coming in this past fall. The date of packaging of this particular ground beef in question dates all the way back to July, so the organization definitely has a lot of work to do. They urge people to throw out any ground beef purchased that has the aforementioned labels, or that was purchased during those periods of time (the freezing of meet is quite a common practice in many households across North America).
And of course Canada is not safe, either, as many of the ground beef could have been shipped to their locations (particularly Wal-Mart) during this time, so Canadians should be on guard as well to protect themselves and their families. A shortage of ground beef has also been reported at Canadian locations.
All in all, if the problem is dealt with swiftly, and all traces of this particular beef is tracked down and destroyed, the impending disaster would have been avoided, as there have been no fatalities. But the longer that beef is out there, the worse the string can get. And what more, who’s to say this won’t happen again.
Better care needs to be taken with our meat and produce, and actions need to be taken immediately to procure a safe future with our food, because the alternative is a scary thing to bear indeed.