Tuesday, October 13, 2009

E. Coli Is Focus of Conversation Lately

E. coli in burger sparks meat industry controversy
The meat producing and processing industries have been taking criticism that they’re not doing enough to prevent E. coli contamination.

Published: 10/11/2009
By Rebecca Ernst

In the wake of a stark exposé on safety practices in the beef industry that appeared last week in The New York Times , consumers are taking a second look at the meat they eat.

The media backlash after the article’s publication has paved the way for another debate over food safety regulation, in particular the limited role inspections and testing play in keeping ground beef contaminated with E. coli off the market.

“Testing of product, either raw materials or finished products, is something that has limited usefulness,” said Craig Hedberg, professor of environmental health sciences at the University of Minnesota. “We can’t test every square inch of an animal’s carcass to see if there’s bacteria present … it just would be too expensive.”

Contrary to the recent media buzz, most facilities are extremely clean, said Ryan Cox, professor of meat science at the University.

“If you were to go into a modern meat facility,” he said, “it looks very similar to a surgical suite in a hospital.”

Cox explained that meat industry practices are so stringently regulated that “to infer in some way that we have an unsafe system would be certainly an error.” Read More

E.coli has become the hot topic as of late. Starting with the New York Times and going through the Larry King Live show last night, it’s the featured conversation all of a sudden. One of the things from last nights show that was unbelievably absent from most of the conversation was the fact that E. coli is very easy to eradicate. Patrick Boyle only mentioned it briefly at the end of the show when he said that proper cooking of meat will eliminate any contamination. Between the New York Times and Larry King last night, the conversation was all about questioning the safety of beef and talking to people that suggested we should stop eating meat all together. So if the solution to all of these problems is a meat thermometer, why isn’t that talked about? It’s a good example of the sensationalized media we are dealing with today. It’s a shame that both of these institutions didn’t use their resources to help educate people more about this, and instead they only worked to raise more fear and doubt about the world’s safest, most affordable food supply.

1 comment:

Caleb said...

All of the sensationalism and fear mongering is really starting to get me fired up. Getting the chance to see first hand the hard work American agriculturalists work to make their products better is an eye opener to this suburban kid. People who actually have a clue about food is becoming a very elite club, and its sad.