Although a bill that addressed food recall procedures died in Congress last year, two new measures aim to close the loophole for unsafe foods once and for all. According to Consumerist (2/6/2015), newly proposed legislation would result in safer shelves and reduced risk of injury as a result of eating unsafe food.
The new legislation would change existing laws surrounding food recalls by creating a new agency that would act upon known food threats right away.
Incredibly, our existing system is not readily free to act upon tainted food.
For example, when dangerous meat, poultry or eggs are suspected to pose a threat to consumers, the USDA has required protocol to actually pull tainted product from store shelves. This process takes time and money – not to mention putting people at risk while food recalls are processed.
The proposed agency would have immediate authority to pull foods that are unsafe regardless of any red tape that would ordinarily keep the foods on grocery shelves.
The new measure is called the Meat and Poultry Recall Notification Act. If passed, foods deemed unsafe due to Salmonella, for example, can instantly be pulled from shelves regardless if it qualifies as a legal adulterant. Incredibly, Salmonella is NOT considered a legal adulterant under the haziness of existing USDA legal language and foods with Salmonella would ordinarily be kept on grocery shelves.
The Meat and Poultry Recall Notification Act would also speed the process in which grocers notify customers of potentially dangerous foods that have already been sold. Customer loyalty cards would be utilized for this purpose as well, according to reports.
Perhaps now there’s a reason after all to actually have a club card!
FOOD RECALLS: HOW DANGEROUS ARE THEY?
We’ve probably all heard that if you cook a meal, you should be safeguarded against illness as heat kills bacteria. But what happens when foods are eaten raw or if cooking doesn’t get the job done?
Take for instance the recent apple recall that pulled thousands of caramel apples and other Gala and Granny Smith apple products from grocer shelves. According to reports (Associated Press, 1/9/2015), five deaths were attributed to the apples which were said to be tainted with Listeria bacteria.
Here’s the truth: most people rinse apples with a bit of water and bite right in. After all, what’s there to fear but a little dirt? Hopefully, consumers are now much more diligent about their safety in the face of the recent apple recall. But the truth is that food safety runs deeper than simply cleaning our food. Here’s what you can do to stay safe against potential food borne illness.
COOK FOODS TO RECOMMENDED TEMPERATURES
FoodSafety.gov recommends that foods, especially meat, be cooked thoroughly to kill off any harmful bacteria. For example, ground meats should always have an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit while chicken should be cooked to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. The list is far more extensive depending on the type of food cooked. Find the complete list here and buy an internal food thermometer to safeguard against illness. It’s important to note that even in the case of proper cooking you may still be at risk for injury if bacteria are able to survive recommended temperatures.
WASH FRUITS AND VEGETABLES THOROUGHLY
Sure, we’ve all probably rinsed our fruit with water and bitten right in without a second thought. But did you know that rinsing alone can leave behind dirt and dangerous bacteria? Buy a fruit and vegetable wash or make your own by combining 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 1 tablespoon baking soda and 1 cup water into a spray bottle and cleansing fruits and veggies every time. You may alternatively create a fruit and veggie soak by combining ¼ cup vinegar and 2 tablespoons of salt into a sink full of warm water and allowing your produce to soak for 20 minutes. Bugs, dirt, bacteria and some of the commercial wax will be removed through these processes.
STAY ON TOP OF RECALLS
Register your name and email at Recalls.gov to keep abreast of any recalls – food and otherwise – that may affect your family. You can specify which emails you want to receive including consumer brands that you use regularly.
WHEN RECALL INJURY OCCURS
If you have been injured due to a recall of any kind, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Give us a call today to discuss your case: 1-858-551-2090. Our legal advice and consultation is FREE. We don’t collect until we win your case.