The USDA Food Safety Joke On Us
August 15, 2011 by Bob Livingston
The United States Department of Agriculture knew a dangerous form of salmonella was present at a Cargill, Inc. turkey plant but did not inform the company until after one person died and 77 others were sickened by the bacteria.
Cargill and the USDA announced the recall of ground turkey from the Cargill plant in Springdale, Ark., on Aug. 3. It was the third-largest meat recall in history and involved 36 million pounds of ground turkey.
The Wall Street Journal reported that USDA officials found three samples of the dangerous antibiotic-resistant salmonella Heidelberg during inspections last year and told the company about it. But when traces of the bacteria began turning up in turkey products in retail stores in March and a Federal agency traced it back to the Cargill plant in April, the company was not informed.
The government’s National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System found the strain during its inspections of the plant in May, June and July, but Cargill was not informed until July 29. Cargill continued to sell its contaminated products until Aug. 3, and the USDA finally suspended all operations at the plant on Aug. 5.
The USDA doesn’t have the authority the Food and Drug Administration has to order recalls, but can only request them, much to the chagrin of Federal authorities. In 1999, the USDA tried to shut down a Texas ground beef plant, but a Federal appeals court stopped it.
“We didn’t have the authority we needed,” said Dan Glickman, the USDA secretary at the time.
It appears this time the USDA, rather than working to prevent illness from spreading, decided to wait until someone died and dozens were sickened in an effort to gain that authority. Not that having more authority would help when its own standards allow for 49.9 percent of tests to come back positive for salmonella.
Federal and local authorities allow large farms and food processors to ship tainted meats and produce all the time, yet crack down on small farmers and food producers and natural whole foods and supplements, as we have shown here, here, here, here, here and here.
And farmer Joel Salatin has outlined how difficult it is for small farmers in America in his book, Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal.
The idea of food safety in America is sick joke. It’s simply a corporate protection racket and a quest by a bloated bureaucracy for more power.
Hat Tip: Naturalnews.com