Greater Omaha Packing is recalling 250,000 pounds of Raw Beef which had been produced on 13 July 2021. Greater Omaha Packing is located in Omaha, Nebraska. This announcement was made by the Food Safety and the Inspection Service of the United States Department of Agriculture. This quantity had been supplied to meat processors in the states of Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, and Nebraska.
Raw Beef Recall From The Market As Test Results Fail
This consignment of meat is suspected to be contaminated with the Escherichia Coli O157: H7 better known as E Coli. E. coli is a bacteria that is found in fecal matter and is lethal for children and the elderly, all of who have comparatively weaker immune systems. The United States Department of Agriculture said the symptoms are severe and can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration, and severe abdominal cramps that can last for around a week.
This recall has been classified as a class I recall which is for a very severe infection. The Food Safety and Inspection Service of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) considers any Class I recall to have a high health risk and can cause serious health deterioration and even death in extreme cases. One such extreme case is Hemolytic Uremic syndrome which is a serious type of kidney disorder.
The health risks of this contamination having been identified along with the confirmed contamination from a routine sample test, the problem is to recall the entire consignment from hundreds of retailers across the four states. The government agency has even identified the types of meat as Angus boneless shank, brisket, and chuck.
Under these constraints of identifying and tracking where the meat has gone from these processors, The USDA’s Food Safety wing has issued an advisory for people inadvertently eating this meat. The advisory is to heat the processed meat to above 61 Degrees Centigrade and allow the heated meat to remain for 3 minutes before consuming it. Ground meat has been recommended to be heated a little higher at 71 degrees centigrade, whether the meat is frozen or at room temperature. The Food safety wing of the USDA, however, reported there has not been a report of E.Coli infection though it is better to follow the heating instructions given.
Raw Beef is not the only product released in the market to be recalled. During the month of July 2021 itself, 6 products had to be recalled. The products were as diverse as carrots, dog food, Tyson Chicken, muffins, McCormick seasonings, Neutrogena, and Aveeno sunscreen. Particularly serious was the case of the dog food where a kind of mold known as aflatoxin was detected and supplies of this dog food had to be recalled from all over the United States.
The repeated instances of food recall pose a serious threat and the flaw in the system needs to be rectified and a solution found. The problem is that food samples are taken only after products are ready for shipment and they are out in the market by the time test results arrive. Often, the process of recall is not foolproof and some of the defective food remains on the market, putting people at risk.
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A solution needs to be found for an effective system and a faster testing procedure needs to be adopted so that there is a minimum loss to manufacturers for holding products until test results arrive.
There was no comment from Omaha packaging about the contamination found in their processed meat.
Meanwhile, the USDA is aware of the problem and has worked with a research team led by the Auburn University and food Detection center to develop a cheap and portable tool for checking fruits and vegetables for bacteria that can cause foodborne diseases.
This is a step in the right direction and similar testing methods can be developed for processed meat as well.