View Full Version : American Chef’s Selection Angus Beef Patties

10-06-2009, 10:48 AM

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">E. Coli Path Shows Flaws in Beef Inspection

Stephanie Smith, a children’s dance instructor, thought she had a stomach virus. The aches and cramping were tolerable that first day, and she finished her classes.

Then her diarrhea turned bloody. Her kidneys shut down. Seizures knocked her unconscious. The convulsions grew so relentless that doctors had to put her in a coma for nine weeks. When she emerged, she could no longer walk. The affliction had ravaged her nervous system and left her paralyzed.

Ms. Smith, 22, was found to have a severe form of food-borne illness caused by E. coli, which Minnesota officials traced to the hamburger that her mother had grilled for their Sunday dinner in early fall 2007.

“I ask myself every day, ‘Why me?’ and ‘Why from a hamburger?’ ”Ms. Smith said. In the simplest terms, she ran out of luck in a food-safety game of chance whose rules and risks are not widely known. </div></div>

It gets worse.

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Ms. Smith’s reaction to the virulent strain of E. coli was extreme, but tracing the story of her burger, through interviews and government and corporate records obtained by The New York Times, shows why eating ground beef is still a gamble. Neither the system meant to make the meat safe, nor the meat itself, is what consumers have been led to believe.

Ground beef is usually not simply a chunk of meat run through a grinder. Instead, records and interviews show, a single portion of hamburger meat is often an amalgam of various grades of meat from different parts of cows and even from different slaughterhouses. These cuts of meat are particularly vulnerable to E. coli contamination, food experts and officials say. Despite this, there is no federal requirement for grinders to test their ingredients for the pathogen.

The frozen hamburgers that the Smiths ate, which were made by the food giant Cargill, were labeled “American Chef’s Selection Angus Beef Patties.” Yet confidential grinding logs and other Cargill records show that the hamburgers were made from a mix of slaughterhouse trimmings and a mash-like product derived from scraps that were ground together at a plant in Wisconsin. The ingredients came from slaughterhouses in Nebraska, Texas and Uruguay, and from a South Dakota company that processes fatty trimmings and treats them with ammonia to kill bacteria.

Using a combination of sources — a practice followed by most large producers of fresh and packaged hamburger — allowed Cargill to spend about 25 percent less than it would have for cuts of whole meat.

Those low-grade ingredients are cut from areas of the cow that are more likely to have had contact with feces, which carries E. coli, industry research shows. Yet Cargill, like most meat companies, relies on its suppliers to check for the bacteria and does its own testing only after the ingredients are ground together. The United States Department of Agriculture, which allows grinders to devise their own safety plans, has encouraged them to test ingredients first as a way of increasing the chance of finding contamination.

Unwritten agreements between some companies appear to stand in the way of ingredient testing. Many big slaughterhouses will sell only to grinders who agree not to test their shipments for E. coli, according to officials at two large grinding companies. Slaughterhouses fear that one grinder’s discovery of E. coli will set off a recall of ingredients they sold to others.

“Ground beef is not a completely safe product,” said Dr. Jeffrey Bender, a food safety expert at the University of Minnesota who helped develop systems for tracing E. coli contamination. He said that while outbreaks had been on the decline, “unfortunately it looks like we are going a bit in the opposite direction.” </div></div>

Apart from anything else, how the hell can they get away with calling these ' beef products' <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">American Chef’s <u>Selection Angus Beef Patties</u> </div></div>


10-06-2009, 11:05 AM
Our local news station had a story today about the 10 foods most likely to make someone sick from food borne illnesses.
Toping the list were leafy vegetables
Eggs made the list, as well as chicken, tuna, strawberries and other items.
Oddly enough, red meat did not appear in the top 10.
The reporter even made the comment that it was strange that all the foods on the list were considered to be some of the most healthy foods.
The only way to be safe from food borne illnesses is to give up eating!


10-06-2009, 12:19 PM
I have also noticed the decline on food safety and the difficulty of trying to buy "fresh" in terms of meat, poultry and veggies. In the past, I may have had my burgers more tar-tar than cooked and not been as careful as I should in cleaning the leafy greens, etc.

Now, even me, the Chief Carnavore of Lower
Alabama, have changed many of my eating habits. After the second near poisining from a Mexican place in a year, I am much less likely to eat out at places I am not very familiar with. Still there are risks. I seem to buy more fresh fish as, to me, it is pretty easy to spot bad fish but have completely given up on Sushi and raw shellfish. When I do crave fresh seafood, I now mix several of the things together inot a sort of Asian stew and hope that the long term of cooking helps kill any remaining bacteria. I know, I know, in some cases that does not help but I am sort of glad now for my love of doing my own cooking (I cook more than DeeWoman, but she smells better).

While I don't want the NYC style government oversight of every bite I take, we all should be much more careful as we age on the things we consume. That's not a right or left thing, it just makes sense. /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smile.gif

10-06-2009, 12:48 PM
hope that means you aren't agin health inspectors, checking on food processing, or restaurant food prep.
I was reminded of a story my Mom ( God bless her soul) told me..seems a friend of hers worked on a food line where they made fig newtons. The figs would fall off the line onto the floor, only to be shoveled up and placed back on the conveyor belt. As for restaurant food safety.....one time in SF, after closing the bar, some of us went over to Chinatown to get something to eat. That late at night the customers were sparse. While we were waiting for the food to come, we began seeing rats running around the place...I'm not even sure they were the friendly black rats indigenous to the area....they might have been the bigger, meaner, NYC brown rats....I didn't bother to ask, just got up and left, and never went back.
I once had the food inspector for a large spice company as a passenger. He told me a lot about food spoilage.....one story was about picnic lunches, unrefrigerated sandwiches. You don't want to know....but oddly enough, the mayonaise helps retard the bacteria growth, if memory serves me....who wudda thought?
That reminds me of a very old joke from my neighborhood, where we also had a spice factory, and my cousin Joan worked there for awhile....when asked what she did....she would reply she separated the flysh*t from the pepper.

Gayle in MD
10-06-2009, 12:58 PM
I wonder if drinking wine with your meals does anything to kill off food born bacteria?

I was in hopes that this administration would address tightening our safety standards for food.

You would think that we could atleast keep the corporate pigs from poisoning us. We are learning more and more about what the chemicals in our air and water are doing to our health, and particularly for babies and children. Now they're not satisfied with trashing earth, they're leaving more trash in space. /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/crazy.gif

Drill baby drill... /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smirk.gif

10-06-2009, 01:40 PM
As my childhood hero, Wimpie, was so fond of saying...
"I will gladly pay you Tuesday, for a hamburger today!"


10-06-2009, 01:55 PM
Nope, not against health inspectors, jusat about the ones who don't do their jobs as is obviously the case. Now many may say we need more of them, I am sure we do.

No, I have eaten in over 49 countries in my life and survived it all with certain cautions. I just think it is getting worse as we add many more mouths to feed on fewer and fewer acres of land.

If I had an easy answer, I'd certainly spill the beans on it, minus the fly s*it. /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smile.gif

10-06-2009, 02:57 PM
Dangerous foods list includes leafy greens, eggs, tuna
By Aaron Smith, CNNMoney.com staff writer
On Tuesday October 6, 2009, 2:07 pm EDT
Leafy greens -- including lettuce and spinach -- top the list of the 10 riskiest foods, according to a study from a nutrition advocacy group released Tuesday.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest listed the following foods, in descending order, as the most risky in terms of outbreaks: leafy greens, eggs, tuna, oysters, potatoes, cheese, ice cream, tomatoes, sprouts and berries.

The scientists rated these foods, all of them regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, by the number of outbreaks associated with them since 1990, and also provided the number of recorded illnesses.

The severity of the illnesses ranged from minor stomach aches to death, the center said. With leafy greens such as lettuce, the top cause of illness were pathogens like E. coli, Norovirus and Salmonella in foods that were not properly washed.

Over the past 20 years, leafy greens caused 363 outbreaks, resulting in 13,568 reported illnesses, the center said. That's compared to berries, No. 10 on the list, which were associated with 25 outbreaks totaling 3,397 reported illnesses.

"Leafy greens are a healthy home run, but unfortunately they're associated with food-borne illness," said Sarah Klein, a staff lawyer with the center who helped prepared the study.

In all, the Top 10 resulted in more than 1,500 outbreaks, totaling nearly 50,000 reported illnesses, according to the center, which added that most food-related illnesses don't get treated or reported, so the real total is likely much larger.

"Millions of consumers are being made ill, hundreds of thousands hospitalized and thousands are dying each year from preventable foodborne illnesses," the study said. "Unfortunately, the FDA is saddled with outdated laws, and lacks the authority, tools and resources to fight unsafe food."

Food producers, including the Western Growers Association, released statements criticizing the report.

"Farmers are consumers, too," the association said, in a release from spokesman Paul Simonds. "They eat the fresh produce they grow as do the members of their families, and have invested millions of dollars enhancing food safety practices in the last few years. Scaring people away from eating some of the healthiest foods on the planet, like fresh produce, does not serve consumers."

Salmonella was also a chief culprit in egg, cheese and tomato-related illnesses, the study said, in cases when eggs are undercooked and when cheese is not processed properly.

Salmonella can be difficult to remove from raw tomatoes without cooking, according to the study.

The study also associated Salmonella and E. coli with potatoes. Klein said this generally happens when cold-prepared potato items, such as potato salad, are mixed with other contaminated ingredients.

Unrefrigerated fresh tuna deteriorates quickly, the study said, releasing harmful toxins, and canned tuna gets dragged into the picture because of mixed-in ingredients such as mayonnaise. Improperly washed oysters are at risk of Norovirus.

Rich Ruais, executive director of the Blue Water Fisherman Association and the American Blue Fin Tuna Association in Salem, N.H., disagreed with the study's "bad rap" on tuna.

"Tuna? I beg to differ," he said. "Tuna is one of the healthiest foods on the Earth. It's life sustaining; it's life prolonging."

Ruais said the tuna-based diet of Japanese citizens plays a big part in their high average longevity. He also said the FDA strictly mandates that tuna is gutted and stuffed with ice immediately after it's caught by commercial fisherman, and submerged in slush once it gets to shore, to prevent risk of pathogens.

More surprisingly, bacteria can also survive in ice cream, primarily from the Salmonella contamination of eggs, an important ingredient that is sometimes undercooked, the study said. Much of the study's blame goes to a 1994 outbreak that sickened thousands of ice cream lovers in 41 states.

The National Milk Producers Federation released a statement criticizing the report as "based on outdated information."

"Cheese and ice cream products are among the safest, most stringently regulated foods in this country," said the federation, in its release. "The cheese examples in this report mostly concern consumption of raw milk products, which neither [the] FDA nor the dairy industry recommends. The ice cream example is 15 years old and was an isolated incident."