Another Spinach Recall

This time it’s personal. A few members of my family were not feeling well this past week, and we think we know why now…

This week, Ready Pac Foods, Inc., a southern California food distributor, recalled 702 cases of bagged spinach salad after federal investigators found E. coli in sample tests. If you have recently purchased salad mixes with a July 4 use-by date, and product code I1707B, IR127121, or products with a July 8 use-by date and code I2007B, IR130373, it’s advised that you throw them out.

Um, great, since July 4th was last weekend…We brought two bags of this spinach to the beach and used it all. Supposedly the only states these products were sold to were California, Washington and Arizona, but it’s not completely outlandish to think that there could be other contaminated batches. Luckily, nobody got really sick, but it still makes me angry that so many consumers often suffer through no fault of their own. Why can’t food companies get their act together? E. coli in freaking spinach? Again?!

You can read more here.

Another Day, Another Beef Recall

While reading the paper this morning, I came across an article about another beef recall being put into action after two people died and more than a dozen people fell ill, possibly due to the same source of contamination: ground beef from a company called Fairbank Farms.

The voluntary recall, issued on Saturday by the company, includes 545,699 pounds of ground beef sold to retailers in 8 states: Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Some of the stores at which these products were sold include Price Chopper, Giant, Trader Joe’s Wild Harvest, and Shaws.
While I know that cooking can kill a lot of the bacteria, I still get really nervous when I read stuff like this. It seems to be happening way too often. There is a lot that the consumer can do to lower their chances of falling ill, but if you’re starting out with a contaminated product, there’s not a whole lot you can do.
Since one of the few foods I don’t like is ground beef, it’s not a huge deal to me, but I know that my dad, for example, practically lives off of the stuff. I feel like when I read about these things, it’s easy to feel like “oh, that’s just something that happens to other people,” but I’m sure that those people who get sick felt the same way.
While I’m not going to try to advocate a restrictive diet in which potentially dangerous foods are cut out (the list is way too long), I will say that events such as huge meat recalls should make people more concerned with knowing where their food comes from.

When An Unlucky Hamburger Changes Everything

On the front of today’s New York Times is an article about a woman who was paralyzed from the waist down in 2007 after eating a hamburger tainted with E. coli. I’m not going to go on an anti-beef rant here, but it is worth taking into consideration that ground beef alone has been responsible for a reported 16 outbreaks in the past three years. And this past summer, according to this article, ground beef had to be recalled from over 3,000 grocery stores in 41 states. Un-f-ing-acceptable.

While vegetables are not immune to contamination (remember the E. coli in spinach incident or the Salmonella outbreak in peanut butter last winter?), stories like this one really do make a good case for limiting the amount of meat you consume. True, a consumer can take steps to prepare food in a safe manner, but if the store is selling you a tainted product, there’s really nothing you can do. And yes, if your number is up, your number is up. However, you can potentially turn the odds in your favor by not playing the game as often.
And try to educate yourself because, clearly, the food companies really aren’t looking out for you. They just want to sell their product, and sometimes maintaining clean and sanitary facilities is not a priority. Stories like this make me so mad because this young woman should not be in this position.
Ugh, sorry, that is a total rant. I just find this stuff so sad. I can only imagine how this girl’s mother feels—she’s the one who cooked the aforementioned unlucky hamburger. She was just trying to feed her family, and look what happened. Not fair.
Here’s a little more info included with the article about how various companies handle their beef to help prevent outbreak.