Most recalled meat is eaten before it can be returned to the factory, according to a nauseating analysis by USA Today. Well-publicized and timely recalls catch slightly less than of all affected meat, a stunning accomplishment when compared to the recovery rates for tainted meat that sickens people.
Most people cook and consume their E. coli burgers in the time it takes for someone to go to the doctor and discover the source of their illness. For recalls following reports of consumer illness, only 20% of affected meat is ever recovered.
The USDA, which regulates meat and poultry, routinely samples thousands of products for harmful bacteria before they leave factories. Test results take a few days to produce.
During that time, companies can legally ship a product. If tests are positive, the product is recalled. Because the meat has been in the market a few days, recovery rates tend to be good: 62% per recall, on average.
There have been 54 meat recalls this year, up from 34 last year. For the most recent recalls, recovery rates are not yet available.
To get more consumers to check homes for recalled meats, the USDA next year plans to publicize names of retailers selling meat that was later recalled. “We think it would be helpful for people to know, ‘Gee, that is my store,’ ” says Petersen.
‘Gee Mr. Peterson, that would be awfully helpful. It also helps to shed your penchant for dripping raw flesh in favor of thoroughly cooked meat.
Most recalled meat is never recovered, likely is eaten [USA Today]