According to data from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), about 4,595 tons of meat and meat products have been recalled in the first quarter of this year. Twenty-one recalls have been recorded thus far, with the largest being 5.7 million pounds of beef and veal that came in two stages.
Huntington Meat Packing, a Montebello California based company, first recalled 864,000 pounds of beef in January due to possible contamination with E. Coli O157:H7. In February, the company expanded the recall to include an additional 4.9 million pounds of beef and veal. This recall was expanded due to the FSIS’ belief that the output of these products during the time period of January 4th and 12th was made in unsanitary conditions.
In second place for the largest of these 21 recalls is Windsor Foods, which recalled 1.7 million pounds of ready-to-eat chicken quesadillas and beef taquitos. The reason for this recall was the HVP (hydrolyzed vegetable protein) contained in these foods, which was contaminated with Salmonella. The HVP was produced by Nevada’s Basic Food Flavors.
The remaining recall for the first quarter involving over a million pounds of food was by Rhode Island based Daniele International Inc., which has been in the news a great deal recently. In the beginning, there were questions as to whether the foods Daniele recalled were tainted due to contaminated black pepper or red pepper. The company recalled products on three different occasions with the total weight of these products reaching 1.4 million pounds.
Salmonella contamination has proven to be the biggest problem so far this year, and has been responsible for more meat and meat products being recalled than any other pathogen during the quarter, whether directly or through the HVP recall. Approximately 3.22 million pounds of these recalled foods can be attributed to Salmonella food poisoning contamination.
It’s plain to see that Salmonella and E. Coli are a real problem in the United States, and are often responsible for foodborne illnesses. While symptoms in healthy individuals are usually only mild, some people may be at higher risk of serious complications. These include young children, the elderly, pregnant women and individuals with compromised immune systems.
If you are injured by contaminated food, consider consulting with a food poisoning attorney.