Why on earth are we still having E. coli outbreaks in this day and age? Don’t beef producers know how to avoid it at this point? Apparently not. Today, Detroit-based Wolverine Packing Company recalled 1.8 million pounds of ground beef because—you guessed it—it’s contaminated with E. coli. With a name like Wolverine, maybe they produce mutant beef? Probably not, but I’d be willing to guess they’re not taking the proper precautions in production. E. coli—which is potentially deadly—contaminates ground beef when parts of the intestine make their way into the final product, because E. coli is found in cow poop. Yummy.
GREED PUSHED TOO FAR?
When it comes to cases of E. coli, quite frankly, I’m flabbergasted. We know what causes it. We know how to avoid it. So what, is it a Monsanto-like greed that causes meet producers to grow complacent about their safety measures? I am a huge fan of competition in the marketplace, but it makes you wonder, is making a few extra bucks and getting products out a little quicker actually worth the health and safety of your customers? Granted, I can’t say for sure that this is what has happened. I can say that I’d be willing to wager that the restaurants in Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, and Ohio that purchased ground beef from Wolverine Packing Company will think twice about continuing accounts with the organization.
E. COLI FACTS
E. coli is contained within the intestines of animals. When consumed by humans, E. coli may only cause minor symptoms like diarrhea and nausea, but in young children and the elderly, E. coli exposure can be fatal. The O157:H7 strain of E. coli—which is what is in Wolverine’s mutant hamburger meat—can cause hemolytic uremic syndrome or HUS. According to the Mayo Clinic, HUS causes “the abnormal premature destruction of red blood cells.” The half-destroyed blood cells start to clog the kidneys, potentially leading to kidney failure.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
The contaminated meat was produced between March 31 and April 18 and bears the establishment number “EST.2574B” on the packaging. Illnesses started popping up, according to the Centers for Disease Control, on May 12. About a dozen people have come down with cases of E. coli, but the meat was not shipped to the National School Lunch Program or the Department of Defense. For some reason, the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service hasn’t released a complete list of states affected. To be on the safe side, make sure all of your ground beef is cooked to 160-degrees Fahrenheit, or just order the chicken. You know, because salmonella is awesome. Well, at least there’s fish (sea lice!) or vegetables (Monsanto!). Oh forget it, we’re all going to die.