Sunday, November 25, 2007

Another Ground Beef Recall

While you are enjoying that leftover turkey and stuffing, you might want to take note of the latest ground beef recall, announced today by USDA. American Food Groups of Wisconsin has recalled almost 96,000 pounds of ground beef. The meat, which is contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, was distributed in seven states and has been tied to two reported illnesses in Illinois. This is another example of how the industry's "Test and Ship" approach to food safety puts its own interests ahead of consumer safety.


  1. Unfortunately for AFG's customers this was not an isolated occurrence. We have seen this all before. In December 2000, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) issued a press release stating that 17 Minnesota citizens had been infected with the same strain of the E. coli O157:H7 bacteria during November 2000. On December 4, FSIS, stated in a Class I alert that Green Bay Dressed Beef, the meat supplier doing business as AFG, was, at the suggestion of the FSIS, recalling 1.1 million pounds of contaminated ground beef. One of the young children we represented developed Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS).

    Also, In December 1998, another recall was issued for 1,000 pounds of beef manufactured by AFG and distributed to Cub Foods stores in the Chicago, Illinois area after random testing showed that meat in one of the stores was contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. Again, in December 1999, a recall of ground beef was made after government inspectors found contamination at the AFG plant. Yet another recall, this time for over 500,000 pounds of ground beef manufactured by AFG, occurred in August 2001. In that outbreak we represented five people.

    One more "beef" of mine - It is an agreement between USDA and industry — USDA will not disclose the names of slaughter houses without a positive test “above the grinder” - which is why there is no mention of where the meat came from that was ground by AFG in this latest recall. Also, on the "downside" of the grinder - on the retail side - there is also an agreement between USDA and industry to not disclose “proprietary information” - which includes where the contaminated meat was sold. Health Departments have to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to not disclose that information to the public in order to get the information from USDA. Welcome to my world — ever read Kafka?

  2. Thanks for expanding on my post, Bill. I concur with your opinion of the "non-disclosure" policy


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