Product Recalls and Health Warnings Make Headlines

Oct 07, 2002

By George Anderson

Sliced turkey deli meat has been identified as the culprit behind 40 illnesses and seven deaths from infections caused by Listeria bacteria.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised persons in high-risk groups to “reduce their risk of infection by not eating sliced turkey deli meats or by thoroughly heating them.” To date, seven states have reported cases of Listeria infection. These include Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

Health concerns related to E. coli bacteria have almost been prominent. On Friday, A&P said it was recalling fresh ground beef products sold through its stores in August and September because of possible E.coli contamination.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) closed a ground beef plant operated by Cargill in Wisconsin. Meat processed at the plant was blamed for an outbreak of E. coli that sickened at least 57 people in seven states.

Moderator’s Comment: Is greater government oversight
necessary to improve food safety in the United States? Has the Bush administration’s
foreign affairs agenda affected its ability to deal with national economic issues?

Reuters reported yesterday that Elsa Murano, under
secretary for food safety, USDA, said, “I do not want to sit here and see any
more of these recalls or these outbreaks. I’m declaring war.”

We’re sure Ms. Murano is sincere. We’re just not sure
that the current administration is willing to focus on any enemies without a
Middle Eastern connection these days. [George
Anderson – Moderator

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