business news in context, analysis with attitude

The Wall Street Journal reports that “a June beef recall by JBS Swift & Co. for deadly E. coli contamination could have been prevented if a plan devised during the Bush administration to build new barriers between the bacteria and the public had been enacted.

“The proposed safety measures would have had U.S. Department of Agriculture inspectors testing more beef, a move the meat industry argued was unnecessary. Inspectors now routinely test ground beef for the E. coli bacteria and any meat that is designated to be turned into ground beef -- usually the part of the carcass called ‘trim,’ but nothing else.”

The USDA says that it is still considering the plan revisions.
KC's View:
Now, the Journal devotes a lot of space and words to this story, and explaining the difference between primals and trims and various kinds of cuts … but it seems to me that, at least to consumers, this is just a lot of noise.

The bottom line is that we want our beef to be as safe as possible. One hundred percent safety probably isn’t possible…but there ought to be as many inspections as feasible in order to assure consumers that they have little to worry about. And this change ought to be made ASAP.

Right now, consumer confidence is being eroded, slowly but surely. If this isn’t reversed, the damage to confidence in the food supply will be incalculable and, perhaps, permanent.