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Beef Recalls: Caused by Chronic Staff Shortages?

I don't eat red meat all that often, but all these beef recalls make me scared to eat it at all. As consumers, we have the right to know what's causing these thousands of pounds of beef to be contaminated with E. coli bacteria. I wouldn't have guessed it, but it looks like it may have to do with lack of staff and inspectors at slaughterhouses.

When there aren't enough workers, there's no way to properly inspect every single animal. Fewer workers also mean that the ones who are working are less likely to follow the rules. When the Humane Society of the United States set up undercover cameras at the Westland/Hallmark Meat Co. (where beef was recently recalled), they discovered workers kicking and shoving sick and crippled cows, forcing them to stand by using electric prods and forklifts. Not only is this unquestionably cruel, but cows that are too sick to stand carry a higher risk for mad cow disease. Also, since they are lying in feces, they're more likely to carry E. coli and salmonella, too. Unfortunately it also boils down to money. If you have a cow that's "downed" and can't be used for meat, that's 300 pounds of beef the meat industry isn't getting paid for. Now I remember why I try to eat lower on the food chain.

So with all this said, it's believed that most consumers will shrug off beef recalls. So I was wondering, do recalls affect your decisions when buying or eating meat?


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