According to the USDA, 2015 saw the highest number of meat recalls in the last decade. Katherine Scheidt told ECB Publishing, "there were 150 recalls in 2015, the highest number since 2005."
Indeed, it seems like food recalls and viral outbreaks at chain restaurants have been all over the news. So is our meat getting worse? Or are we just getting better about detecting bad meat?
The U.S. Department of Agriculture established its Food Safety and Inspection Services in 1981. The FSIS inspects eggs, cattle, pigs, sheep, and other animals used for human food and makes sure they're safe for consumption. And it appears the FSIS has ramped up its enforcement efforts in recent years.
A USDA spokesperson told ECB, "The FSIS has implemented new measures to help us catch products that could endanger public health, which leads to more recalls. FSIS personnel are better trained and equipped than ever. With the help of tools such as the Public Health Information System, the Automated Commercial Environment Database and the Consumer Complaint Monitoring System, FSIS is more effective at aggressively identifying and removing potentially dangerous products from commerce."
Class in Session
While only the meat producers or distributors may institute a recall, the FSIS can warn the public as to the extent of the danger. All FSIS recalls are classified as Class I, II, or III, with the difference being the probability that the affected products will cause injury or death to consumers.
Class I recalls are the most serious, distinguished by a "reasonable probability" that consuming the recalled products "will cause health problems or death." Class II recall, involve potential health hazard situations in which there is a "remote probability of adverse health consequences from eating the food," and Class III recalls involve no possibility of adverse health consequences from eating the food product.
While meat recalls are going up, you can keep checking back at FindLaw's Common Law for the latest recall news and information.