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Factory produces tainted beef within weeks of Bush Administration asuring "safety"

On July 10, a spokesman for the Department of Agriculture assured consumers that beef produced at Nebraska Beef in Omaha was "safe", after it sickened people in nearly 50 states.  If the federal government had any credibility left on issues of safety and regulation, it was further tarnished when the factory recalled 1.2 million pounds of beef within a month.

The company issued the recall after more than 30 people were made ill with E-coli bacteria after eating beef products produced in June and July.  The Agriculture Department had assured news media outlets that the company had made enough changes to render its products safe and had also assured consumers that it would give the plant additional scrutiny this summer.

Days earlier, the S & S Food Company recalled more than 150,000 pounds of frozen ground beef associated with an E. coli outbreak at a Boy Scout camp in Virginia.  The Washington Post quoted one Department of Agriculture authority to the effect that more than 5 million pounds of beef products have been recalled this year:  apparently not enough to warrant the closer scrutiny that the Administration promises whenever someone is made ill and a large recall is initiated.

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