Food Safety Advocate and Attorney Bill Marler encourages everyone—especially parents—to never use ANY food that’s been recalled
The year may be young but beef recalls because of potential E. coli O157:H7 contamination are in full swing. In light of the two recalls already issued in 2010, food safety advocate and attorney Bill Marler has issued a strong warning to consumers—throw away or return that meat!
“There’s a lot of misinformation about tainted meat and E. coli—many seem to believe that proper cooking practices will make it safe to eat. This is simply not the case. Safe preparation is always necessary, but tainted meat can make you sick no matter how it’s cooked,” said Marler.
The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a recall on 864,000 pounds of beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. The meat was packaged by Montebello, Calif.-based Huntington Meat Packing and sold to consumers under the Huntington, Imperial Meat, and El Rancho brands. Some of the meat in question was sold almost two years ago. This is the second beef recall of 2010—the first came on January 11 and was initiated by the Massachusetts Department of Health over 2,500 pounds of beef from Adams Farm Slaughterhouse, LLC.
So what do you do if you’re worried or think you may have beef covered under this recall? Marler provides these suggestions:
1. Go to http://www.fsis.usda.gov/recalls/Open_Federal_Cases/index.asp for the latest in food recalls issued by the USDA.
2. Check any meat or food products you have for the information listed in recalls including brand names, packaging stamps, and distribution dates.
3. If you find you’re in possession of meat or a food product that’s apart of a recall, throw away or return the product immediately. You do not need your receipt to return food products under a recall.
Most importantly, Marler stresses, NEVER try to use the meat in question. Just because no one has gotten sick yet that doesn’t mean the product is safe.
“Once a recall has been issued that means there’s definite cause for concern and no manner of safe cooking practices will make the product edible,” says Marler. “While everyone should take this recall seriously, parents should take special note as E. coli tends to affect children and the elderly in greater severity and numbers.”
Marler also takes issue with when this most recent—and several others like it—have been issued: over a holiday weekend when not nearly as many people are paying attention to news reports. This is dangerous because fewer people are made aware that a recall has been issued, which could potentially put individuals and families at unnecessary risk.
As Marler wrote on his blog, www.marlerblog.com, on Tuesday morning: “I need to hand it to the FSIS, I am beginning to lose track how often its recall notices go out on either a Friday night or on a holiday. They sure have learned to get bad news out when no one is watching.”
ABOUT BILL MARLER
Bill Marler is an accomplished food safety advocate and attorney at Marler Clark. He began litigating foodborne illness cases in 1993, when he successfully represented Brianne Kiner, the most seriously injured survivor of the Jack in the Box E. coli O157:H7 outbreak. Over the years, Bill and his firm, Marler Clark, has become the leader in representing victims of foodborne illness and has gone against companies that include Odwalla, Chili’s ConAgra, Dole, KFC, Sizzler, Golden Corral, and Wendy’s.
Under the auspices of the non-profit Outbreak, Inc. (www.outbreakinc.com), Bill spends much of his time traveling to address food industry groups, fair associations, and public health groups about foodborne illness, related litigation, and surrounding issues. He has testified before Congress as well as State Legislatures. He is also a frequent author of articles related to foodborne illness in food safety journals and magazines as well as on his personal blog, www.marlerblog.com. Bill also recently founded Food Safety News (www.foodsafetynews.com) as a one-stop resource for global food safety news and information.