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Canadian Beef recall endangers American consumers

Food safety is an important issue for Massachusetts residents. This makes the recent recall of Canadian beef especially troubling, as some of the retail outlets being affected also do business within the state. Residents have experience with meat recalls however, as the current recall closely resembles an earlier product liability recall that affected pork being sold in Massachusetts stores in July 2012.

The recall is the result of a U.S. Department of Agriculture alert on the presence of E. Coli in beef produced by factories in Alberta. The beef was shipped to stores in 30 states and affects a number of retailers, including Safeway and Walmart. The recall of beef products includes meat produced on Aug. 24, 27, 28, 29 and Sept. 5. The dates were chosen due to conditions in the processing plant being conducive to the spread of the bacteria.

The total amount of beef affected by the recall is about 890,000 pounds. While the recall is widespread, most of the meat was shipped to only three states in the northwestern U.S. Inspection of the plants used to produce the meat found multiple issues. As a result, XL Foods, the plant owner, was stripped of its meat-packaging license. The USDA is also under fire for its handling of the incident, with charges of reacting slowly as information was received about the bacterial outbreak.

Residents in the state of Massachusetts have an expectation that inspections made on food products will catch those materials that are unfit for consumption. When those inspections fail, residents can seek legal recourse for illness experienced as a result, especially when there is evidence of negligence, as there seems to be with the failed inspections of the Alberta plants that produced the questionable meat currently being recalled.

Source: Huffington Post, "Canadian Beef Recall Poses Danger To U.S. Consumers, USDA Says," Angela Delli Santi, Sept. 28, 2012

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