Over the past few days, there have been two more large meat recalls. In both cases, there have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to product consumption.
Golden Gourmet Recall
Golden Gourmet has recalled more than 5,000 pounds of frozen waffle and turkey sausage products over concerns of contamination with Listeria monocytogenes. The issue was uncovered when the company received a letter of notification from US Foods, its supplier, that products had been recalled. The Class I recall involves products that were produced and packaged on December 21, 28, 29 and 30, 2016 and shipped to locations in Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, South Carolina and Tennessee.
Armour Eckrich Meats Recall
FSIS also announced a Class II recall initiated by Armour Eckrich Meats, LLC over concerns of metal contamination. The company recalled nearly 91,000 pounds of ready-to-eat fully cooked pork, turkey and beef breakfast sausage products that were produced and packaged from April 26 through April 28, 2017 and shipped to distribution centers in Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas. Armour Eckrich Meats discovered the problem when it was notified by an FSIS-regulated establishment that pieces of metal were embedded in the sausage product produced by Armour Eckrich.
Last week California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that bans the use of antibiotics in meat production. The legislation, SB-27 Livestock: use of antimicrobial drugs, prohibits the administration of antibiotics in livestock unless ordered by a licensed veterinarian via a prescription or veterinary feed directive. As such, the law bans using drugs to promote weight gain or improve feed efficiency.
Several organizations, including the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), are applauding the legislation. On the NRDC’s blog, senior attorney with the organization’s health program, Avinash Kar, praised the passage of the final bill. “We’ve fought for many years to get the FDA to take genuine action on this issue, but the FDA has basically given the issue lip service and failed to take meaningful action,” wrote Kar.
The legislation, also the most stringent nationwide, goes into effect January 1, 2018. It requires that the Department of Food and Agriculture, in collaboration with the Veterinary Medical Board, the State Department of Health, and other organizations put together antimicrobial stewardship guidelines and best management practices on how to properly use “medically important antimicrobial drugs. The departments would also be required to collect data on the use and sales of these drugs, along with data related to antibiotic resistant bacteria, and livestock management practice data.
Violation in the bill’s provisions will result in a civil penalty of up to $250 for each day the violation occurs, as well as up to $500 in administrative fines for each day the violation occurs.
The use of antibiotics in meat and poultry has been highly controversial for years, as it has been blamed for an increase in antibiotic-resistant infections. In addition, resistant bacteria can be transmitted to humans through the consumption of food. Antibiotic resistance and food safety has been a high priority by the CDC, which estimates that Salmonella and Campylobacter, cause nearly 410,000 antibiotic-resistant infections in the United States annually.