Wednesday, October 8


Here's some news that got no play in the current climate: "Meat inspectors repeatedly warned the USDA that ground beef at a ConAgra plant was contaminated with harmful bacteria months before a food-poisoning outbreak last year, but their concerns were ignored, an audit by the department's inspector general says."

But there's more: The USDA caused consumers' sickness and death by breaking the law, that's right, I said breaking the law! "The audit also found that inspectors didn't perform their own tests and failed to review other test results available to them, even though law requires them to."

By the way, in case anyone hands out that HACCP-is-working crapola, remind them that "the auditors blamed some of the inspectors' shortcomings on gaps in the Agriculture Department's meat safety policies."

It's not like ConAgra was squeaky clean - or, well, anything other than covered in feces. "Auditors also said ConAgra failed to respond to the contamination quickly. They noted the company was aware its own tests on meat trimmings, which are ground into hamburger, showed 63 samples were positive for E. coli months before the recall."

In related non-covered news: "In 2003, the U.S. Department of Agriculture impaired the government's ability to obtain the best possible advice on foodborne illness" by stacking an important advisory committee with such industry luminaries as the American Meat Institute.

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