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Tainted Beef: Illnesses, Deaths and Mounting Beef Recalls Cause Concern

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By Admin on December 08, 2009 1:19 PM

As discussed in FindLaw's Injured, a $100 million lawsuit has been filed by a paralyzed dancer against the agrobusiness giant Cargill, Inc. The lawsuit highlights a recent rash of tainted meat incidents. The victim ate a tainted beef patty from Sam's Club that was distributed by Cargill, Inc. She suffered severe injuries because of food poisoning from E. coli.

As discussed recently here,, Beef Packers, Inc., of Fresno, California has recalled over 800,000 pounds of ground beef products that may be linked to an outbreak of drug resistant salmonella.

That beef recall included beef that was repackaged and sold under different brand names at Sam's Club, Safeway and Vons in at least 9 states.

Recently, two people have died from tainted beef that carried the bacteria E. coli. The New York Times reports that the tainted beef contained E. coli. It was produced in western New York by Fairbank Farms and may have caused an E. coli outbreak of more than two dozen people.

The United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service announced a news release of another beef recall -- this time Fairbury Steaks in Nebraska, has recalling 90 pounds of fresh ground beef products that may have been contaminated with E. coli. It is classified as a Class I Recall. The Health Risk is classified as High.  

These deaths and beef recalls illustrate a need for stricter inspections standards. The New York Times quotes Donna Rosenbaum, executive director of Safe Tables Our Priority, as saying, “To this day, contamination problems are not found by any checks on the products by companies. They’re found when people get sick, and that’s a failure in the system.”

In fact, there are slaughterhouses who will will only sell to grindhouses that agree not to test for E. coli. The New York Times reports that slaughterhouses fear that grindhouses that test for the pathogen and discover it, will spark a recall of meat that they sell to other grindhouses.

With the burger eaten by paralyzed dancer Stephanie Smith as an example, you can see what goes into a single burger here.

One thing is fairly certain, more beef recalls will come, hopefully without the need for someone to die or become paralyzed beforehand.

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