Recall Reasons Hard to Identify

By: Katie Kim Email
By: Katie Kim Email

Another day, it seems yet another food safety warning.

"Night after night, week after week, it seems like there's something recalled," says concerned Mason resident Barbara Hall.

The most recent recall comes from two farms in Iowa, where millions of eggs were contaminated with salmonella. On Tuesday, officials also pulled 380,000 pounds of deli meat products from Walmart stores for listeria. It makes people wonder.

"Are we lax with our safety concerns?" asks Hall.

One Lansing-based company argues no.

"This is a salmonella, listeria and E-coli test," says Neogen Vice President of Food Safety Ed Bradley.

It works like a simple pregnancy test, says Bradley.

"Once you test your food sample, one line will be a negative, and one line will be a positive," he explains.

Neogen sells kits like these to food manufacturers worldwide, but Bradley says it's impossible to examine every sample.

"As food manufacturing gets consolidated, if there's ever a problem, it becomes a bigger problem and more broadspread," says Bradley.

"It's really nothing new," says MSU Food Safety Professor Elliot Ryser.

Ryser hears of half a million salmonella in egg cases each year. But he explains the specific cause is still hard to pinpoint.

"We need a spike in cases for the people at the Centers for Disease Control to identify something like this," says Ryser.

And at that point, Ryser says most people have already consumed the contaminated product. For now, he tells us these recalls are blessings in disguise.

"If they weren't issued, then obviously a greater segment of the population would be at risk," says Ryser.

To make sure you're protected, experts suggest buying food from brands you trust. Also, they say eggs should be cooked all the way through before eating them.

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