Monday, May 14


They keep on doing it, and I keep on pointing out, and so-called journalists keep missing this fantastical coincidence: Whenever the USDA has a particularly large, damning meat recall to announce, it's put out on a Friday, the well-known "dead zone" government officials know ensures the least possible public visibility (meaning, in this case, the least chance lives will be saved or grave illnesses averted by the information). The constant, ongoing willful disregard for public health and American lives in favor of meat industry damage control is a major story that continues under the noses of credulous meat-eating reporters. Hey, folks: Ding-ding-ding-ding! Meat's done!

The latest incident includes obfuscation and flimflammery typical of the USDA's PR stunts on behalf of the beef industry: One recall was dated Thursday, yet note that the first media reports on it - those by outlets closest to the source - occur around midday on Friday, as though all media outlets had the press release for a full day and all decided to wait for someone else to report it. Uh huh. Reeeeeal credible.

At any rate, in combination with the second recall, by Friday night the USDA was recalling over 240,000 pounds of beef. Conceive of this: We're talking more than a hundred tons of contaminated dead cow. That no one heard about.

And even further, the USDA's own recall center puts both of these crucial recall documents on its site in PDF-only form, again limiting how many people can or will instantly access the information - AND although the two recalls are "Class I," which means "a health hazard situation where there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death," the fact that people have already been sickened by the meat in question is finessed with the phrase "discovered by Michigan Department of Community Health as part of an E. coli O157:H7 illness investigation" in one case, and is completely ignored in the other. I guess if nobody hears about these press releases, it doesn't really matter whether they contain that vital part of the story or not, eh?

One last note: This brings the total tonnage to more than 300 tons of beef recalled for E.Coli just within the past three weeks. And remember that I don't make a point of listing every single fecal-contamination meat recall that occurs, only those that are particularly worthy of note such as this one. Ask yourself how many of these you hear about, and why that might be.

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