Just a week ago – around the end of July – the FDA recalled 38,ooo pounds (that’s 17 metric tons) of raw beef due to safety concerns.
They were imported on July 13th, 2020. Without an ounce of suspicion or knowledge, some of the investors went a step further and processed them into ground beef.
“The raw, frozen, boneless beef head meat items were imported on July 13, 2020 and were further processed by another company into ground beef products. The following products are subject to recall.”
This is far from the first time that a food supply has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, the UK’s economy is heavily dependent on their food supply, which they don’t exactly have lots of extra stock to fall back on.
Whether you can blame it on the perishable nature of most of these foods, or the just-in-time supply system they have, it nonetheless underscores how dependent we’ve become on an already vulnerable export and import system.
JBS Food Canada ULC sold the 1,700 kilos of “boneless beef head meat products” to the US, where it was imported without appropriate inspection. Naturally, this was worth some concern.
“The problem was discovered when FSIS determined through routine surveillance that the product had by-passed FSIS import reinspection.”
Though there is yet to be any reason to think that this is a national emergency. No evidence has presented itself yet that the thousands of pounds of beef were dangerous.
It’s simply the protocol of food inspection to make sure everything is safe for consumption before it makes it to groceries and people’s fridges.
“There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about a reaction should contact a healthcare provider.”
This of course means that you still shouldn’t take your chances and consume the non-inspected meat. The chances of anything bad happening aren’t known yet, but the (admittedly small) risk isn’t worth a few burgers.
In fact, despite the lack of evidence that consuming the beef has caused any adverse side-effects, the FDA classifies it as a “High risk” class 1 recall. As defined by their page :
“This is a health hazard situation where there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death.”
The FDA suggests throwing them out or returning them to where you bought them.
The Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) took note and alerted the FDA about the issue after their routine surveillance uncovered the problem. Judging from the available information, more than a couple of days had already passed after the meat slipped through customs without inspection.
Meat isn’t the only part of the food industry that’s felt the blow of the pandemic. Pretty much every other consumable form of goods that are stocked in groceries have been affected in some capacity.
The initial onset of shortages was caused by panic-buying during the early stages of the pandemic.
Amidst a pandemic caused by a quickly-spreading virus, there’s no such thing as being too careful. If you have to throw out the beef you bought, don’t fret too much. The price of replacing a few pounds of beef from your refrigerator is way lower than the price of a potential hospital visit, even if unlikely.
Of course, those quarantine burger parties should be postponed for now.
If you were one of the consumers who acquired some of the beef (maybe you can find out by checking the label on the packaging if it’s still in the packaging), and supposing you do experience symptoms of any kind after eating it, contact JBS USA Consumer Hotline at (800) 727-2333.
You can also just phone them for any other questions or concerns you might have.
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