Beef recall reminder meat is not a safe food |

Beef recall reminder meat is not a safe food

Friday’s 18-million-pound ground beef recall by ConAgra, the nation’s second largest meat processor, should be a wakeup call for all consumers: Federal meat inspection is not adequate to ensure a safe meat supply.

The recall was occasioned by a high incidence of infection with a deadly strain of E. coli bacteria. The bacteria are introduced by fecal contamination of the carcasses and can cause bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and in some cases, kidney failure and death.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimate that some 80 million Americans a year suffer from food-borne illness. Up to 90 percent of chickens contain Campylobacter, 5 percent of cows carry the lethal strain of E. coli, and 30 percent of pigs are infected with toxoplasmosis. Egg consumption is a leading cause of salmonella poisoning.

How many illnesses and deaths will it take before American consumers consign meat consumption to the garbage heap of lifestyle history, along with smoking, and drug addiction?

Paul Kennedy

Grass Valley

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