Meat Producers Issue Massive Recalls after Salmonella, Listeria Outbreaks
Two massive meat recalls were issued this week following outbreaks of food-borne illnesses.
Arizona-based meat producer JBS Tolleson Inc. recalled more than 6.5 million pounds of "various raw, non-intact beef products"—i.e. ground beef—that may be contaminated with salmonella, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced Thursday.
Fifty-seven cases of the illness linked to this outbreak strain were reported in 16 states between Aug. 5 and Sept. 6, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The products were produced and packaged from July 26 to Sept. 7 and were shipped to retailers nationwide.
"Consumers who have ground beef in their homes labeled with the establishment number 'EST. 267' should contact the store where it was purchased to find out if it was recalled. Do not eat recalled ground beef. Return it to the store or throw it away," the CDC advised.
Common symptoms of the illness include diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps 12 to 72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria. The illness usually lasts up to a week, and most people recover without treatment. People with weakened immune systems, children younger than 5 and elderly individuals are more likely to have a severe reaction.
On Wednesday, the USDA announced that ham-maker Johnston County Hams, Inc. in North Carolina recalled 89,096 pounds of ready-to-eat ham products produced from April 3, 2017 through Oct. 2, 2018.
Four people were hospitalized in North Carolina and Virginia, and one person died in Virginia from a listeria infection linked to the deli ham, the CDC said.
Pinpointing the exact source of the listeria outbreak can be difficult. Unlike common foodborne diseases, the incubation period for the disease can be long, from 3 days to 70 days.
Listeria outbreak: Johnston County Hams deli ham recalled after 4 people sick in 2 states. Do not eat, serve or sel… https://t.co/9v1MLjtV6x— USDA Food Safety (@USDA Food Safety)1538667521.0
Listeriosis can develop into a serious illness for some people. About 1,600 people get listeriosis each year, and about 260 die from listeriosis, according to the CDC. The illness can be especially dangerous for pregnant women and people with impaired immune systems.
"Return any recalled deli ham to the store for a refund or throw it away. Even if some ham was eaten and no one got sick, do not eat it. If you do not know if the ham you purchased was recalled, ask the place where you purchased it or throw it away," the agency said.
The CDC also warned people to sanitize anything the ham might have touched: "Wash and sanitize drawers or shelves in refrigerators and freezers where recalled ham was stored. Follow these five steps to clean your refrigerator.
12 Ways Trump Has Declared War on Food Safety https://t.co/zRiwew58BT @eatsustainable @RootsofChange— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1496784317.0
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At first glance, you wouldn't think avocados and almonds could harm bees; but a closer look at how these popular crops are produced reveals their potentially detrimental effect on pollinators.
Migratory beekeeping involves trucking millions of bees across the U.S. to pollinate different crops, including avocados and almonds. Timothy Paule II / Pexels / CC0<p>According to <a href="https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/israeli-kitchen/beekeeping-how-to-keep-bees" target="_blank">From the Grapevine</a>, American avocados also fully depend on bees' pollination to produce fruit, so farmers have turned to migratory beekeeping as well to fill the void left by wild populations.</p><p>U.S. farmers have become reliant upon the practice, but migratory beekeeping has been called exploitative and harmful to bees. <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/10/health/avocado-almond-vegan-partner/index.html" target="_blank">CNN</a> reported that commercial beekeeping may injure or kill bees and that transporting them to pollinate crops appears to negatively affect their health and lifespan. Because the honeybees are forced to gather pollen and nectar from a single, monoculture crop — the one they've been brought in to pollinate — they are deprived of their normal diet, which is more diverse and nourishing as it's comprised of a variety of pollens and nectars, Scientific American reported.</p><p>Scientific American added how getting shuttled from crop to crop and field to field across the country boomerangs the bees between feast and famine, especially once the blooms they were brought in to fertilize end.</p><p>Plus, the artificial mass influx of bees guarantees spreading viruses, mites and fungi between the insects as they collide in midair and crawl over each other in their hives, Scientific American reported. According to CNN, some researchers argue that this explains why so many bees die each winter, and even why entire hives suddenly die off in a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder.</p>
Avocado and almond crops depend on bees for proper pollination. FRANK MERIÑO / Pexels / CC0<p>Salazar and other Columbian beekeepers described "scooping up piles of dead bees" year after year since the avocado and citrus booms began, according to Phys.org. Many have opted to salvage what partial colonies survive and move away from agricultural areas.</p><p>The future of pollinators and the crops they help create is uncertain. According to the United Nations, nearly half of insect pollinators, particularly bees and butterflies, risk global extinction, Phys.org reported. Their decline already has cascading consequences for the economy and beyond. Roughly 1.4 billion jobs and three-quarters of all crops around the world depend on bees and other pollinators for free fertilization services worth billions of dollars, Phys.org noted. Losing wild and native bees could <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/wild-bees-crop-shortage-2646849232.html" target="_self">trigger food security issues</a>.</p><p>Salazar, the beekeeper, warned Phys.org, "The bee is a bioindicator. If bees are dying, what other insects beneficial to the environment... are dying?"</p>
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