Beyond the Recall: Organic Eggs and Salmonella
The organic egg recall last week in Minnesota following six cases of salmonella highlights how the government’s financial struggles impact day-to-day operations as well as consumers. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) traced the salmonella cases to the Larry Schultz Organic Farm in Owattona, Minn., which distributed eggs to restaurants, grocery stores, food wholesalers and food service
Organic eggs were recalled in three states following six diagnosed cases of salmonella.
companies in Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin.
Siobhan DeLancey, press officer with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said that the month between the time of diagnosed cases until the recall was announced on Oct. 19 was likely spent on testing and identifying the strain of salmonella and having epidemiologists in Minnesota trace the cases back to the Larry Schultz Organic Farm.
State officials pinpointed the strain of salmonella in six individuals between Aug. 12 and Sept. 24 before sourcing the eggs from the farm. Kirk Smith, supervisor of the Minnesota foodborne diseases unit, said that for every reported, diagnosed case of salmonella, there are about 29 that go unreported, putting Minnesota’s probable total for salmonella cases connected to this egg recall somewhere between 150 and 200.Smith said there are about 700 confirmed cases of salmonella a year in Minnesota but only 15 percent of those are tied to a specific cause of outbreak.
That percentage could be higher, he said, if the government had more money.
Salmonella can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in very young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.
The public health infrastructure and our ability to investigate and prevent outbreaks “has really been eroding for 5-10 years because of financial struggles,” said Smith. “There are probably outbreaks like this that happen all the time that we can’t detect.”
Smith wasn’t able to comment on whether or not all recalled eggs were removed from the stream of commerce as of this week, and calls to other MDH departments were not returned by the time of publication.
Minnesota could see more cases of salmonella connected to this recall, since the pathogen can exist inside a chicken’s ovaries and be transferred into the eggs we eat, meaning proper cooking is extremely important for safe food prep.
Have you had to return eggs?
See details on the recall including brand and sell-by dates in our marketplace.
Cargill Recalls Tainted Turkey...Again.
After being subject to a 36 million pound tainted turkey recall in August, Cargill is at it again.
Earlier this year, Cargill meat processing was forced to recall 36 million pounds of salmonella tainted turkey. Controversy erupted when it came out that both Cargill and the USDA knew about the contamination a full year before the products were pulled from shelves. The diseased product killed 1 person and sickened 77 others before officials decided to act.
The recalls continue as the company announces that new cases of salmonella contamination in their turkey products require 185,000 additional pounds of potentially contaminated turkey be destroyed. Cargill took steps to sanitize their facilities after the last recall but suspect the salmonella may be resistant to antibiotics.
Some meat companies can’t bear to part with recalled products and end up taking them off shelves, cooking them, and stuffing them in other products. In 2009, ConAgra foods took recalled E.Coli contaminated beef and stuck it in cans of chili.
Recycled meat can’t be any worse the burgers made of human feces, right?
Now that I know that…
Salmonellosis, Typhoid Fever, Enteric Fever.
can be acquired through ingestion of Inadequately cook CHICKEN.
(with Salmonella spp.)
make sure to cook properly any food, not just CHICKEN, before preparing it to your family, especially to your kids :)
just to share.
(seems like I have a short term memory about this topic! Urrgh!)
sorry for the wrong things.
Salmonella Spinach Recall in California
Church Brothers is recalling 560 bags of clipped spinach after one bag tested positive for Salmonella during a random USDA Microbiological Data Program sampling.
No illnesses have been reported, the company said in its recall announcement Friday.
READ MORE HERE: Food Safety News
I have several people in my life that have been persuaded by the organic approach to food. As a thinking individual that refuses to be spoon-fed and sold based solely on a concept of better dining, I have a desire to propose objective thinking into the system, and to actually think about the flaws in it rather than the benefits of its concept. When making ANY decision, especially one as important as what you’re eating and what you’re willing to pay for it, I think you have to look at both the good AND the bad that can come from such a decision.
Though these articles primarily deals with the salmonella outbreak in peanuts a few years back, I think the economics behind growing markets, including that of “food organics” is one that is bound to break people’s moral upstanding in such a system. When a market grows, so does the demand. Farmer and overseer demands to include an “organic” stamp on it’s foods means less quality in the actual inspection and regulation of such a product. The incentive in any market, even in farming, is the bottom dollar. Organic farms require far more work and labor, and therefore, costs are higher to pay for those products. as the demand grows, the ability to maintain that amount of output is likely to be stretched, leading to unknown results.
If nothing else, I wish that people that buy into the “organic” principle would thing about the logistics of such a system. I have no problems, by any means with the concept of organic farming and what it can produce. however, I’m a skeptic. When you never really know where your food is coming from, how can you ever really be sure of it’s quality or what is promised on a label? The only real way to do so, is to do it yourself, through smaller self grown gardens and eating ONLY the things that you have produced or followed through its entire growth process. You’ll never be able to really be quite sure. All I want to come out of this, or any other market fad, is that its consumers actually THINK about what they are quite literally buying into.
Personally, I love going to the local farmer’s market, buying things to support local land owners and my community, however, when it comes to most things, I will continue to follow habit and logic. I refuse to give up meat in my diet, and if that means continuing to eat the things I have for 23 years, I’m more than willing to do so.
Cargill Recalls Massive Amounts of Ground Turkey
Image by entropy via Flickr
A few months ago I had a conversation with my grandma about the importance of knowing where the meat you eat comes from. Jamie Oliver emphasized it on his ABC show, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. The nationwide recall of 36 pounds of ground turkey by Cargill on August 3 illustrates why consumers need to know the origins of the meat they eat. With something like ground turkey it is impossible to know exactly where the turkeys came from beyond the processing plant.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a public health alert concerning salmonella contamination in ground turkey on July 29. The alert was issued after an estimated 77 illnesses reported in 26 states. All Headline News reports that the salmonella strain linked to the ground turkey is “multi-drug resistant and nearly 40 percent of the victims have required hospitalization.”
The recall is described by All Headline News describes the recall as “one of the largest Class One recalls in U.S. history.” A Class One recall involves a serious health hazard.
The recalled turkey came from Cargill’s Springdale, Arkansas facility, produced from February 20, 2011 through August 2, 2011, according to the company’s press release. Cargill also, according to the press release, suspended production of ground turkey at the Springdale plant until it can figure out the source of the salmonella contamination.
Cargill has three other turkey production plants in the U.S. The other three plants are not affected by the recall.
The USDA lists the following retailers as selling the affected ground turkey:
- Aldi— Nationwide
- Giant Eagle— Locations in PA, MD, WV and OH
- HEB— Locations in TX
- Ingles— Locations in SC, NC, AL, GA, TN and VA
- Kroger— Nationwide
- Meijer— Locations in MI, IL, KY, IN and OH
- Stater Brothers— Locations in CA
- Walmart— Nationwide
- WinCo—Locations in WA, ID, NE, CA and OR
The recall of the ground turkey is “just the latest example of why we need strong regulatory and public health programs in place to protect consumers,” Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director, Food & Water Watch said in a statement.
Hauter said that people were “getting sick with Salmonella for several months while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state health departments struggled to identify a likely source of the contamination.” Hauter blamed budget cuts for making it more difficult for federal and state health agencies to “effectively protect public health.”
Another meat recall occurred last week. A total of 228,596 pounds of beef products from Tri State Beef of Cincinnati, Ohio were recalled on July 29. The USDA confirmed a positive result for E. coli.
What you can do to protect yourself from contaminated meat
Cargill is a large corporation. It is always better to purchase meat from sources as locally grown as you can get. Ask your grocer’s butcher where the meat sold in the store is from. Seek out small butcher shops which purchase meat from local sources.
Here are a few websites to help you find local sources of meat:
If you know of any other websites, let me know by leaving a comment.
I am not sure what it is about salmonella and herpers but it seems every time I mention it I get pounced on. So let’s get some facts straightened out.
There are at least 2,400 serotypes of Salmonella. Every vertebrate animal carries some type in their GI system. Not all serotypes cause disease and those that do cause disease do not necessarily cause it in their normal host organism. Salmonella can live in the environment for some time but they are not soil dwelling, they had to have been “put there” by an animal, usually from defecating.
Of the 2,400 types, 50 of these have been proven to be zoonotic from reptiles to humans. These salmonella are not just found in the feces and GI tract of reptiles but all over their skin as well. Reptiles are the number 1 cause of zoonotically transmitted salmonellosis in humans. It is safe to assume 100% of reptiles are carriers and it has been shown that there is no way to completely eliminate this carrier state. The fact is reptiles carry it and people are getting sick from it. Of course other pets carry it (hedgehogs are actually close behind reptiles in transmitting salmonella to humans) but reptiles are the number one, so that is why I talk about it.
Having an iguana (the #1 reptile in salmonella transmission right now) lick your ice cream would have a much higher chance of making you sick from Salmonella than your dog. Could you become ill from other organisms in the dog’s mouth, yes of course, but this doesn’t happen all that often in immune competent people.
The reason I include it whenever I talk about reptiles is because it is important to realize and also sometimes the only way people will stop doing stupid things to their pets is if they realize there is a risk to themselves. For those reptile owners that wash their hands and keep their enclosures clean, you are doing everything right. There is nothing wrong with owning reptiles and I don’t point out the Salmonella to try and convince people not to. Just have common sense.