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American Food & Ag Exporter

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Another Unnecessary Beef Recall

Jim Prevor’s Perishable Pundit, June 6, 2007

Supervalu recalled some ground beef that was for sale in its Albertsons and Save-A-Lot chains due to E. coli 0157:H7 contamination.

This recall stemmed from a recall by United Food Group of 75,000 pounds of ground beef. In addition to the Supervalu chains, the meat had been sold to Grocery Outlet, Fry’s, Save-Mart, Smart and Final, Smith’s and Stater Bros.

Hopefully either the product wasn’t sold yet, will be returned or everyone was cooking their meat to a well done 160 degrees Fahrenheit so that nobody will have gotten sick.

Yet this is a food safety crisis that doesn’t have to happen. Let us hope these chains will follow the lead of firms such as Wegmans and offer irradiated fresh ground beef and frozen irradiated beef patties.

Sure there are always going to be luddites who oppose irradiation. So what? Responsible business people have an obligation to do the right thing and not pander to ignorant people.

Wegmans is a leader in so many things. Yet nothing they lead in merits as much respect as the willingness of the Wegmans family to insist on offering this choice to their customers when the easiest thing in the world would be to avoid all criticism and ban irradiated product from their stores. Instead, this righteous family puts their name on the beef.

Ten years ago the Pundit wrote a column in PRODUCE BUSINESS, a sister publication to the Pundit, asking for retailers to be heroes and stand up to a radical fringe of no-nothings intent on getting their way through intimidation. You can read the piece here.

We owe thanks to the Wegmans family for standing up. Now every chain should offer irradiated ground beef and hamburger patties.

For what conceivable benefit should we run the risk that a child will die from E coli 0157:H7 on his hamburger?

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