By Dina Eliash Robinson
This is a heads-up to all our FreeRangeClub blog visitors—and to anyone else you would like to pass on this, potentially life-saving information.
Dr. Robert Tauxe of the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention cautions that getting over an acute case of food poisoning may not mean you’re in the clear for good.
Studies conducted by the University of Utah, in which children who have recovered after E. coli infections were tracked over long periods, turned up evidence of later complications. For example, some 10 percent of the E. coli.-stricken children later developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS)—i.e. failure of kidneys or other organs.
According to the CDC, food poisoning cases about 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths a year. Considering that this is a fraction of the more than 75 million cases of food-borne illnesses occurring in the United States annually, it boggles the mind how underfunded and understaffed the government’s food-safety watchdogs (such as the FDA & USDA) still are.
To their credit, these and other agencies manage to prevent some major health calamities—as they did last year with massive food recalls, including more than 30 million pounds of ground beef. Sometimes, the food-processing and/or distributing companies themselves will take their products off the market—but usually only at the urging of government inspectors, or of retailers whose customers have been harmed by the products.
An example of this was reported last month by the Associated Press—quote: “More than one million pounds of ground beef were recently recalled by Cargill, after samples tested by the Agriculture Department showed they were contaminated with E-coli bacteria. The ground beef was produced between Oct. 8 and Oct. 11, at the Cargill Meat Solutions plant in Wyalusing, Pa., and distributed throughout the country, to such retailers as Stop & Shop, Wegmans, Weis, Giant, and Shop Rite.”
More recently, three men died and two women were sickened (one to the point of having a miscarriage) from a deadly strain of listeria traced to the Whittier Farms plant in Shrewsbury, Mass., about 35 miles west of Boston. The investigation continues, as the state agency of communicable disease control is trying to pinpoint the exact source of the contamination.
And these items are merely the tip of the tip of the iceberg…
Since the FreeRangeClub’s goal is to give YOU the tools with which to keep yourselves and those you care about as safe and healthy as it is possible in this imperfect world, we advise that you to…
(a) pay attention to all information that is even remotely connected to food; and
(b) actively look and listen for items—usually buried—in the media about recalls, consumer injuries caused by contaminated foods, and related news.