Bad news for meat eaters on the East Coast: A Pennsylvania firm is recalling 29,330 pounds of ground beef because it may be contaminated with Salmonella Enteritidis. But here's the kicker -- this recall is for meat with sell-by dates from over a month ago, so chances are it's not even on store shelves anymore. Instead, it could be inside your freezer.
What's worse, the recall was issued after 33 people got sick apparently from eating the contaminated meat. And figuring out if that ground beef in your freezer is from the contaminated batch is going to be tricky because the beef involved in that recall was re-packaged and sold under different brand names. Ugh, so what can we do?
How's about buying your meat directly from farms, farmers' markets, or just going vegetarian? (I wrote, for the 10,000th time.) I mean, good grief. Meat's crazy in the U.S. We just had a massive meat recall last week. Now there's another? And what's with all that travelling, re-branding, not finding out until after people get sick? That does not inspire confidence in our gigantic, sprawling meat system. You want regular meat inspections to find contamination before it hits stores.
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Anyway, there is a little bit of information you can check to see if your freezer beef is all right. Check the USDA mark of inspection for "EST. 9400" -- that's the number for the recalled beef. The meat was sent to distribution centers in Connecticut, Maine, and New York, but from there the meat apparently found its way to Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. So really, if you live anywhere in the Northeast, you should check your meat.
And of course, there's that little warning we get every time this happens: Cook your meat to an internal temperature of 160 degrees. Get that contaminated meat nice and hot! I think kitchen safety is important. I get that. But wouldn't it be nice if meat could arrive in your home uncontaminated in the first place?
Have you ever gotten sick from contaminated food?
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