Before You Eat Another Hamburger…

… read this:

Stephanie Smith, a children’s dance instructor, thought she had a stomach virus. The aches and cramping were tolerable that first day, and she finished her classes.

Then her diarrhea turned bloody. Her kidneys shut down. Seizures knocked her unconscious. The convulsions grew so relentless that doctors had to put her in a coma for nine weeks. When she emerged, she could no longer walk. The affliction had ravaged her nervous system and left her paralyzed.

“I ask myself every day, ‘Why me?’ and ‘Why from a hamburger?’ ”Ms. Smith said. In the simplest terms, she ran out of luck in a food-safety game of chance whose rules and risks are not widely known.

Meat companies and grocers have been barred from selling ground beef tainted by the virulent strain of E. coli known as O157:H7 since 1994, after an outbreak at Jack in the Box restaurants left four children dead. Yet tens of thousands of people are still sickened annually by this pathogen, federal health officials estimate, with hamburger being the biggest culprit. Ground beef has been blamed for 16 outbreaks in the last three years alone, including the one that left Ms. Smith paralyzed from the waist down. This summer, contamination led to the recall of beef from nearly 3,000 grocers in 41 states.

Read the next six pages of article, and you will never want to touch a hamburger again.

2 Responses to “Before You Eat Another Hamburger…”

  1. Jack Jodell says:

    Thanks for sharing this excellent article, Kathy. The fact that this poor woman went through what she did at all is infuriating, but the tight-lipped refusals of all those responsible up and down the ladder to even speak to the press about the grief their collective irresponsibility had caused is outrageous and unforgivable!

    Such are the ethics of modern-day corporations: make money at all costs, as quickly and inertia-free as possible, and then deny all responsibility or skirt the issue completely once a serious problem occurs.

    There are still people calling for more deregulation of industry. If ever an industry needed more and stronger regulation right now, this is the one. And even our regulatory agencies, ruined by the laxness and complicity of the last administration, must be overhauled, so that they, just like these meat processors, must DO THEIR DAMN JOB PROPERLY AND RESPONSIBLY!

  2. Chief says:

    This post merits more attention and comments than I am capable of.

    First, although I have not seen Michael Moore’s latest film, “Capitalism: A Love Story,” I feel as if this story could have been a lead in the movie. America’s version of capitalism is a “profit-at-any-cost” model where most senior executives would sell their mothers and/or daughters for an increase in quarterly profits.

    Second, Mrs. Chief and I eat ground beef. But, and here is the critical part, we only buy it from a local store, Sunset Meat Market, in Piqua, Ohio. And they grind their own. And how might they do that, you ask?

    Well, in the front of the meat case are ‘round steaks’ at, currently, $3.69 a pound. When the container holding the ground round is empty, they take one or two round steaks and grind them into hamburg. That, plus eating only ‘well-done’ hamburgs and meat loaf that has been in the oven for awhile or spaghetti sauce that has been in a pot for a few hours has probably helped us avoid food borne illnesses.

    Also helpful has been our training and experience as licensed food handlers in the state of Illinois.

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