By Kim Smiley
I wanted to add a few more interesting facts on the recent beef recall as the ramifications continue to surface. As a quick recap, on February 17, 143 millions pounds of beef were recalled. For perspective, that’s enough beef to make every person in the US about two hamburgers. The scope of the recall is rapidly expanding and it may become the largest food recall in US history. The full magnitude of the recall is just now becoming apparent because it takes weeks to track down all the products containing the recalled beef.
Take a second to think of all the products in a grocery store that contain beef and you can imagine how large this recall is likely to become. The amount of food that is going to be destroyed is mind boggling and the cost is likely to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Keep in mind that no cases of illness have been reported, a large amount of the beef has already been consumed, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture classifies the risk to consumers as remote. Does it make sense to destroy all this food? As you consider the scope of the recall, I ask you also to consider a root cause analysis of the problem.
The previous blog asked the question, what is the best approach to prevent this type of problem from happening again? I still don’t now the answer, but I do know that a recall alone does not solve the initial problems that caused the issue. What cause really lead to sick cows being mistreated and then slaughtered for human consumption? A recall deals with the problem after the fact and a good solution would change something in the process prior to the meat entering the food chain. The USDA has stated that it will not be increasing inspections at food processing plants and I haven’t found any evidence that other changes are being made in the work process at the slaughterhouses. I’ll be continuing to cook my meat well done.