Modal close

Dear Democracy Now! visitor,

You turn to Democracy Now! for ad-free news you can trust. Maybe you come for our daily headlines. Maybe you come for in-depth stories that expose corporate and government abuses of power. Democracy Now! brings you crucial reporting like our coverage from the front lines of the standoff at Standing Rock or news about the movements fighting for peace, racial and economic justice, immigrant rights and LGBTQ equality. We produce our daily news hour at a fraction of the budget of a commercial news operation—all without ads, government funding or corporate sponsorship. How is this possible? Only with your support. If every visitor to this site in December gave just $10 we could cover our basic operating costs for 2017. Pretty exciting, right? So, if you've been waiting to make your contribution to Democracy Now!, today is your day. It takes just a couple of minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you and everybody else in 2017.

Non-commercial news needs your support.

We rely on contributions from you, our viewers and listeners to do our work. If you visit us daily or weekly or even just once a month, now is a great time to make your monthly contribution.

Please do your part today.

Topics

Usda Recalls 19 Million Pounds of Beef Contaminated with E Coli in the 2nd Largest Beef Recall in US History - We'll Look at How the Meat Industry Blocked Reform

StoryJuly 23, 2002
Watch iconWatch Full Show

It is the second largest beef recall in US history. Almost 19 million pounds of ground beef were taken off the market last Friday after 19 people in Colorado were sickened by hamburger processed by meat industry giant ConAgra Foods.

As of this morning, at least six other cases of food poisoning have been reported in California, Michigan, South Dakota, Washington and Wyoming.

The U.S. Agriculture Department said meat from the company’s Colorado plant may be contaminated with the deadly E. coli bacterium.

The toxic strain of E. coli bacteria can lead to bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps, kidney damage and in some cases death. It is spread to meat during the butchering process from cattle feces or transmitted through contaminated water.

It is also easy to spread the bacteria in industrial slaughterhouses, where the meat of dozens of animals can be ground together. The infected meat of a single steer could contaminate an entire day’s production.

This is the second time in less than a month that ConAgra—one of the nation’s largest food distributors—has had to recall beef. The company recalled another 354,200 pounds of beef on June 30. Federal plant inspectors confirmed the contamination on June 19, but ConAgra wasn’t notified until ten days later.

Many blame Agriculture Department testing procedures for the delay between the initial discovery and the two recalls.

After the nation’s largest recall of beef in history, when Hudson Foods recalled 25 million pounds in 1997, Congress mounted an effort to increase the number of inspections and tighten safety standards in packing plants. But the meat industry blocked that effort.

Guests:

  • Jeremy Russell, Spokesperson, National Meat Association.
  • Caroline Smith DeWaal, food safety director, Center for Science in the Public Interest and author of "Is Our Food Safe?"

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

Non-commercial news needs your support

We rely on contributions from our viewers and listeners to do our work.
Please do your part today.

Make a donation