Half Of Recalled Meat Never Recovered

Discussion
Apr 28, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson


Authors of a newly published study that tracked the success of meat and poultry recalled between 1998 and 2002 say only half of the product was actually recovered and that isn’t good enough.


Neal Hooker, an assistant professor of agricultural, environmental and development economics at Ohio State who co-authored the study said, “I was hoping that with the new (HACCP) regulations we would have higher recovery rates, but that hasn’t happened.”


Professor Hooker acknowledges that improved testing procedures and the new regulations have made the food supply safer by triggering faster and more frequent recalls, but he maintains there is much work to be done.


For example, the rate of meat recovered was not higher in Class I cases, which pose the greatest health threat, than it was in those considered less serious in nature.


The study revealed that smaller plants appear to do a better job of recovery contaminated product than larger operators. Professor Hook attributes this to the plants having simpler distribution systems, knowing their customers better and being willing to take back product not recalled “just for good customer relations.”


Moderator’s Comment: What is your reaction to the findings of this latest study on meat and poultry recalls? What
are your thoughts on the current system’s ability to identify hazards and then act to safeguard consumers?


Professor Hooker appears most concerned about the time it takes to put recalls into action. That, he suggests, may require changes to current regulations.
“If we ever have a major bioterrorism threat linked to the food supply, we should have the system in place that would create the sense of urgency to prevent problems. You want
to be able to move very, very quickly, and that should be in the regulations.”

George Anderson – Moderator

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