Recalls of potentially hazardous meat and poultry in the United States, according to a new report from US PIRG Education Fund.
In 2018, romaine lettuce infected with E. coli and beef tainted with salmonella spurred a plethora of major recalls which caused stores and restaurants to toss millions of pounds of meat and produce.
The new report – ‘How Safe is Our Food?’ – reveals how fundamental flaws in our current food safety system have led to a jump in these recalls since 2013.
“The food we nourish our bodies with shouldn’t pose a serious health risk. But systemic failures mean we’re often rolling the dice when we go grocery shopping or eat out,” said Adam Garber, US PIRG Consumer Watchdog.
“We can prevent serious health risks by using common sense protections from farm to fork.”
Since the passage of the nation’s last significant food safety law, the Food Safety Modernisation Act (FSMA) in 2011, many types of food recalls have increased substantially.
While better science and more thorough investigations under FSMA account for some of the increased recalls, US PIRG found serious gaps in the food safety system throughout the same time period.
The report found an 83% increase in meat and poultry recalls that can cause serious health problems. Food recalls overall increased by 10% between 2013-2018 while archaic laws allow meat producers to sell contaminated products.
Viveth Karthikeyan, US PIRG Consumer Watchdog Associate, said: “These recalls are a warning to everyone that something is rotten in our fields and slaughterhouses.
“Government agencies need to make sure that the food that reaches people’s mouths won’t make them sick.”