Today, the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service issued a public health alert for 808 pounds of ground beef products produced at Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc., of Lexington, NE, because they may be contaminated with E. coli.
The tainted beef was sold to Sherm's Food-4-Less in Medford, OR, which then sold packages of ground beef products to consumers between May 7 and May 19, in various sizes. An alert, rather than a recall, was issued because none of the packages remain for sale.
In addition to this alert, Cecina Los Amigos, a Carson, CA, firm, is voluntarily recalling approximately 290 pounds of pork blood sausages that may be contaminated with Listeria, according to the USDA.
The recalled products are 10-pound vacuum-sealed packages of CECINA LOS AMIGOS PORK BLOOD SAUSAGE (MORONGA). The label bears the establishment number EST. 21653 inside the USDA mark of inspection.
The pork blood sausages were produced on May 14, 2008 and were distributed to retail establishments in northern California.
These recalls come at a time of heightened awareness and concern over the safety of the food supply.
A few months ago the nation witnessed the largest beef recall in its history that was the result of the Humane Society's secret videotapes of workers at a California meat plant prodding and fork-lifting downer cattle cattle that are too weak or sick to stand into the slaughterhouse.
Agriculture secretary Ed Schafer said yesterday that his department wants to ban all downer cattle from the slaughterhouse to boost public confidence in the safety of the nation's food supply, according to an article in the Washington Post.
Currently, the rules state that while downer cattle must be kept out of the food supply, an exception exists that allows a government veterinarian to approve for slaughter an animal that passed an initial inspection, but then goes down before reaching the "knock box," according to the article, so long as a second inspection finds that animal to have an acute injury rather than an illness.
The USDA plans to eliminate this exception.
Senator Herb Kohl of the Senate Appropriations agriculture subcommittee was quoted in the article: "A strictly enforceable downer ban will eliminate confusion and move the ball forward on food safety and humane standards, while restoring consumer faith in a vital American sector."
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