Woman’s Shattered Life Shows Ground Beef Inspection Flaws - NYTimes.com
- Here are some quotes from a riveting article on the perils of beef from the NY Times:
"Stephanie Smith, a children’s dance instructor, thought she had a stomach virus. The aches and cramping were tolerable that first day, and she finished her classes. Then her diarrhea turned bloody. Her kidneys shut down. Seizures knocked her unconscious. The convulsions grew so relentless that doctors had to put her in a coma for nine weeks. When she emerged, she could no longer walk. The affliction had ravaged her nervous system and left her paralyzed. Ms. Smith, 22, was found to have a severe form of food-borne illness caused by E. coli,"
"In the simplest terms, she ran out of luck in a food-safety game of chance whose rules and risks are not widely known."
"Ground beef has been blamed for 16 outbreaks in the last three years alone, including the one that left Ms. Smith paralyzed from the waist down."
"Despite this, there is no federal requirement for grinders to test their ingredients for the pathogen."
"Unwritten agreements between some companies appear to stand in the way of ingredient testing. Many big slaughterhouses will sell only to grinders who agree not to test their shipments for E. coli,"
“Ground beef is not a completely safe product,” said Dr. Jeffrey Bender, a food safety expert
"For Ms. Smith, the road ahead is challenging. She is living at her mother’s home in Cold Spring, Minn. She spends a lot of her time in physical therapy, which is being paid for by Cargill in anticipation of a legal claim, according to Mr. Marler. Her kidneys are at high risk of failure. She is struggling to regain some basic life skills and deal with the anger that sometimes envelops her. Despite her determination, doctors say, she will most likely never walk again."