Saturday, August 8, 2009


Well, now it's beef's turn to come up contaminated with Salmonella bacteria. On August 6 the USDA announced that Beef Packers, Inc., based in Fresno, California, is recalling approximately 825,769 pounds of ground beef products that may be linked to an outbreak of salmonellosis. That is a whole lot of beef. The ground beef products were sent to retail distribution centers in Arizona, California, Colorado and Utah.

So, we just avoid eating it, right? No, unfortunately not, because we don't know what brand name they were sold under. The product was shipped in bulk, and then repackaged by other different companies into smaller packages with different names. Who knows what they all are. Besides, the 'use or freeze by' date has long expired. The meat was sent out on various dates in June, and the latest use-date was before mid-July. In other words, the chances are that it has already been eaten. That nasty bout of diarrhea, vomiting, fever etc. that you had a few weeks ago, that you thought was the 'flu - well, it could have been that medium-rare hamburger you ate (or, well-cooked one you made without using careful kitchen hygiene). To make matters worse, this is a particularly nasty member of the Salmonella family - Salmonella Newport because it is resistant to many commonly prescribed antibiotics. And that is not mentioning the risk of longer-term effects on our health, like arthritis and worse.

So, what do we do? Well, if you are presently eating in California, Arizona, Colorado or Utah, the safest approach is to only buy ground beef from a store that grinds up their own. Or, maybe skip eating any ground beef meals for a while altogether. Try a turkey-burger instead. It is better for you, and actually quite good, particularly if you throw some garlic and herbs on it, and maybe a pile of cream sherry-soaked sauteed red onions on top, served on an onion bagel...

Bon appetit,

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