For the most part we are a country that enjoys eating red meat. There’s nothing like the smell of a juicy steak being grilled on the barbecue, or perfectly seasoned meatballs for your spaghetti dish.
But when you have to worry about whether or not the food you are going to consumer will make you sick, it kind of takes the enjoyment out of the dining experience. Case in point is the ongoing recalls of beef products from XL Foods in Alberta due to suspected E.coli contamination.
There’s no way to tell with the naked eye or through our senses of smell and taste if the meat is actually contaminated. As people clear their freezers of the recalled products, it would make sense that you would think twice about purchasing beef in the future. How do you get back to feeling comfortable with your food?
It seems that food recalls are becoming more and more common. Is it that the testing has become better to detect contaminated products? Is there more demand for the product, putting a strain on resources and affecting sanitation? Are we expected to just live with the fact that the food we are eating could actually make us sick — that it could kill us?
Whether it’s salmonella in peanut butter or lunch packs geared at children, listeriosis in pre-packaged sandwich meats or E.coli on produce or in the water (as was the case in Walkerton, Ontario in 2000) – and the list goes on and on — we as consumers of these products trust that safety is first and foremost in the production, packaging and shipping of these products.
Nothing is 100 per cent failsafe, but there are standards to follow. When standards aren’t met we could end up with situations like the latest beef recall.
Will it be a wake-up call for the industry? That probably depends on how hard it hits them in the pocketbook.
Chances are it is consumers who will bear the bigger brunt of the whole situation, not only with the recall and lack of confidence in the products, but in their own wallets as well as one of the biggest suppliers of beef in the country faces an uncertain future. Chicken anyone?
— Karen Wells