The recent massive recall of over 8.7 million pounds of meat products from US consumer shelves the United States Department of Agriculture has brought to light some disturbing policies where recall food products are not being listed and warned against. The Rancho recall centers around over a year’s worth of meat products coming from the company’s facilities due to poor, and in some cases, completely negligent and absent inspection processes of the meat moving through the factory floors. Rancho originated meats moved onto to over 5,800 separate retailers, and affects 45 states, as well as Washington D.C., Guam, and Puerto Rico.
Raising Alarms with Consumer Meat Products
The startling issue that was raised through this process, aside from the horrific lack of oversight on the USDA’s point with maintaining inspection requirements at Rancho, is that the recall lists, and amazingly all previous recall lists for recalled meat, affect and lists only retail outlets and products in the notice. What this fails to acknowledge is that the overwhelming majority of food borne illnesses derive from consuming foods outside the home in restaurants. It has come to light even in these facts that restaurants are not listed on the recall list – only retail locations.
Inspectors and administrators responses from the USDA have centered on the language of the recall policies enforced in Washington to say the restaurants are not retail consignees, and are therefore not part and parcel to the USDA recall policy on notifications of punitive measures for failure to remove suspected items. FSIS maintains a position that the law is the law, and it does not cover restaurants.
Critics have responded that yes, there is comprehension that restaurants are not part of the recall policy, but they need to be added in light of the fact that yes, the majority of food borne illness derive from restaurants. There is no headway, as the argument goes back and forth. What this means to a consumer is that recalled food products are ingested at a restaurant, they have no legal recourse, against either the restaurant itself, the food processor where the food originated, or the USDA or US Government.
Pundits are attempting to re-write the policies to make them enforceable in restaurants, but to date, no major bills have been introduced to protect consumers from further exposure.
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