24.7 Million pounds of chicken/turkey meat recalled
October 13, 2002 7:30 PM   Subscribe

24.7 Million pounds of chicken/turkey meat recalled Because potentially infected by a dangerous bacteria (?) that can be destroyed by cooking meat to a temperature of at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Just FYI
posted by elpapacito (42 comments total)
The article begins, "Poultry producer Pilgrim's Pride ... launched the largest meat recall in history."

That's a hell of a lot of alliteration, even for Reuters.
posted by jennanemone at 7:36 PM on October 13, 2002

Well, back to cow/pig then.

Oh, and tuna, too....
posted by y2karl at 7:50 PM on October 13, 2002

Is it really so much to ask that people cook their meat to 161 degrees or more? Isn't this a tremendous waste of food?
posted by ParisParamus at 8:01 PM on October 13, 2002

They were talking about deli meat too, though...so if you had it on a sandwich, you wouldn't be cooking it.
posted by agregoli at 8:10 PM on October 13, 2002

"fresh and frozen ready-to-eat turkey and chicken products. "

That pretty much means stuff you wouldn't cook.
posted by HTuttle at 8:20 PM on October 13, 2002

Well, this is what happens when you let them drive.
posted by apostasy at 8:52 PM on October 13, 2002

Instead of wasting all that meat, they should feed it to prison inmates.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:55 PM on October 13, 2002

Damn, guess I'll have to start cooking the chicken before I eat it.
posted by fleener at 9:17 PM on October 13, 2002

So much for my chicken sushi habit.
posted by laz-e-boy at 9:28 PM on October 13, 2002

The average domestic turkey weighs 12 pounds and the average domestic chicken weighs 3.5 pounds. Let's assume 75% of the recalled meat is chicken meat and 25% is turkey meat (I'm assuming the market for chickens is greater than the market for turkeys during the off-Thanksgiving Holiday season). That would mean 18,525,000 pounds of the recalled meat is chicken and 6,175,000 pounds of the recalled meat is turkey. Consequently, the lives of 5,292,857 chickens were wasted and the lives of 514,583 turkeys had no purpose on this earth.

My comment reminds me of a question I would have had during high school (or my college math class for 'non-math majors'), except it would continue, "how many consumers are unable to purchase turkey or chicken?"
posted by quam at 9:42 PM on October 13, 2002

quam: assuming that math is correct, then it does rather make one take a long hard look at vegetarianism. I mean, 2 million animal lives wasted and it's likely that the American consumer won't even notice the impact at the market. That's kind of sickening, really.
posted by shagoth at 9:46 PM on October 13, 2002

Mmm... salmonella...
posted by y2karl at 9:54 PM on October 13, 2002

Hey, I am a vegetarian for reasons JUST like this one.
posted by FilmMaker at 10:08 PM on October 13, 2002

Hey FilmMaker: as a rabbi I read about recently asked: what gives you the right to kill plants?
posted by ParisParamus at 10:29 PM on October 13, 2002

What does it mean to waste a life? It's an interesting phrase. Waste of food, yes, but was the life wasted? Does anything after death diminish the value of the life? No, no life was wasted; the lives were what they were, played through and passed on by time, long before contamination of the meat. This is a waste of death, if anything, but event hat I'm not sure of.
posted by Nothing at 10:31 PM on October 13, 2002

So does that mean I'll be able to pickup a couple of million pounds of turkey/chicken for cheap on eBay?
BBQ at my place!
posted by blue_beetle at 11:15 PM on October 13, 2002

As a potent figure in my life (we'll call him "Dad") once remarked "I brought you into this world, I can take you out". Some would (and have) argued that a version of this is not only at play here, but valid. Someone (name withheld until I can remember it) has asserted that domesticated animals differ from their wild brethren to such an extent that their natural state should no longer be taken to be the same as the wild ones. In other words, a milk cow isn't a prisoner in a farm; its natural state is in a farm, being milked (among other things). Such might be used to argue that the chickens' lives weren't wasted, but natural, and only their deaths were wasted.

I don't subscribe to this argument in the slightest, but I do find it rather interesting.
posted by apostasy at 11:28 PM on October 13, 2002

The Food Safety and Inspection Service has a list of news releases, including one involving this recall, which links to a list of the products involved. Wampler Foods also has set up a recall section on their site. Their list of products is worth looking at. Not all of the recalled items carry the Wampler name.
posted by bragadocchio at 12:33 AM on October 14, 2002

This looks like a job for Thermy!
posted by soundofsuburbia at 12:53 AM on October 14, 2002

laz-e-boy: So much for my chicken sushi habit.
Don't laugh, here in Japan I've eaten chicken sashimi several times without adverse incident.
In 8 years in Japan I've had 5 episodes of food poisoning: 3 times at Macdonald's, once from rancid BBBQ ribs (the extra B is for BYOBB) at an American blues bar, and once from a convenience store sandwich. All of them operated by Japanese, but not Japanese food. To me, a hamburger looks scary, and this, which freaked me out when I was first confronted with it, looks delicious.
posted by planetkyoto at 2:45 AM on October 14, 2002

OT from the Value/Waste of Poultry lives:

"fresh and frozen ready-to-eat turkey and chicken products. "

That pretty much means stuff you wouldn't cook.

shouldn't the stuff already be cooked? isn't that what ready-to-eat means when applied to meats?

what gives you the right to kill plants?

fruits, berries, legumes, gourds, melons, tubers, flowers and leaves can all be eaten without killing the plant.
posted by tolkhan at 5:44 AM on October 14, 2002

planetkyoto, what is that exactly? It looks a bit liked some kind of smoked fish or something.
posted by alumshubby at 5:53 AM on October 14, 2002

fruits, berries, legumes, gourds, melons, tubers, flowers and leaves can all be eaten without killing the plant

...just progressively damaging it. Kind of like the old joke about the three-legged pig who saved the farmer's life: "An animal like that, buddy, you don't eat him all at once."

At the end of the day, vegetarianism/veganism is just another answer to the question "Where would you like to place yourself in the food chain?"

I appreciate all of vegans'/vegetarians' reasons for their food choices even though mine continue to include animal products.
posted by alumshubby at 5:58 AM on October 14, 2002

fruits, berries, legumes, gourds, melons, tubers, flowers and leaves can all be eaten without killing the plant

...just progressively damaging it.

? Flowers and leaves maybe. Everything else on that list detaches naturally. Some of it is even "supposed" to be eaten (helps spread the seeds).
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 6:02 AM on October 14, 2002

Vegetarianism is demonstrably lighter on the moral scales than meat-eating. But so what, at the end of the day? It's a personal decision: you pays your money, you takes your choice. No need to bicker about it, kids.
posted by walrus at 6:21 AM on October 14, 2002

What is this? MeatFilter™?
posted by jpburns at 6:32 AM on October 14, 2002

No, this is.
posted by saintsguy at 6:55 AM on October 14, 2002

That's shishamo, smelt in English, broiled till the skin is crisp. You squeeze a little lemon on it, hoist it by the tail, tilt your head back and eat it head first, the whole thing. Almost every Japanese kitchen range has a fish broiler built in, and they don't go to waste. Just after I posted that, surprise surprise, my wife came out with a couple of these broiled sanma, saury in English. Mmm, my favorite.
posted by planetkyoto at 7:10 AM on October 14, 2002

Hey, I am a vegetarian for reasons JUST like this one.

FilmMaker, here is more food you may want to avoid too, then , some fresh produce, unpasteurized apple juice or cider, alfalfa and radish sprouts.
posted by thomcatspike at 7:21 AM on October 14, 2002

what gives you the right to kill plants?

I love the old "What about plants?" line. There are two main reasons why it's so absurd: 1) Anyone who eats animals kills many more plants than do plant-eaters, because the animals have to be fed more plants to produce the same amount of food; and 2) Animals are demonstrably sentient, that is, we can tell they feel pain because they try to avoid it. Plants don't. It's illogical to believe that either God or nature would design plants such that they would feel pain and have no way to escape it. It woud serve no purpose. Therefore there is a quantum difference, morally, between killing plants and killing animals.

Now, as to the morality of killing those innocent little bacteria...
posted by soyjoy at 8:25 AM on October 14, 2002

Another thing plants don't do is produce feces. That's where listeria, salmonella, E.coli, campylobacter, cryptosporidium, etc. all come from: Animals. The fact that plant food can be cross-contaminated is worth bearing in mind as a safety issue, but not as an argument against the inherent danger of meat production and consumption.
posted by soyjoy at 8:27 AM on October 14, 2002

Well, before we get in a carnivore vs. herbivore debate, here's some info on listeria. This isn't exactly E.coli (antibiotics exist to treat listeria, should anyone contract it and notice the symptoms early enough -- in E.coli's case, opinions differ as to whether antibiotics should even be used). But this is pretty dangerous this is for people who are unhealthy. They're more likely to suffer fatalities, beginning with modest symptoms and continuing with meningitis and blood poisoning.
posted by ed at 8:30 AM on October 14, 2002

I think a salient detail in terms of listeria vs. E.coli is that listeria thrives in refrigerated meats, such as cold cuts, which are, unlike ground beef, not likely to be served at a temperature high enough to kill the bacteria. Unless, that is, you're making fried baloney sandwiches.
posted by soyjoy at 8:59 AM on October 14, 2002

SoyJoy: I wasn't being terribly serious. The only kind of vegetarian which irks me is one who insists that being one is more "natural" than being one is. Personally, respect vegetarians greatly, and I'm always trying to go in that direction.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:15 AM on October 14, 2002

soyjoy: So, you define sentience as the desire to move away from pain? There is an entire human subculture that would have problems with that, seeing as how they actively seek out pain....

And, asking a life form that doesn't move, particularly, to move is foolish. It would be like saying humans don't respond to walking on hot surfaces by flying, so they are inherently inferior to birds.... It's changing the playing field to fit your notions.

Oh, and some plants do indeed move to avoid threat of harm (folding leaves, curling edges, etc). Many of those that can't have been recorded as sending out distress alerts by chemicals. (both are easily searched on Google -- have fun).

So, what means sentient? Is that a real reason to decide what you eat? Or, just a line that is comfortable to work around?

Yes, animals eat many more plants than vegetarians, but many of those plants are things that are beyond our ease to digest. And, the animal compacts out the nutrients, reducing the amount of food required to achieve the same nutrient levels (and, forcing a demand for Metamucil, but let's keep this focused). When it is all measured out, there are very few differences in total mass required between vegans and carnivores, and the myriad of middle ground positions.

It all comes down to personal desire. I desire meat, but not as much as I did. I eat many more vegetables now, and I feel...well, no different. I'm not healthier, except that I have shifted the way I eat. I ate junk vegetables more than junk meat, and have changed. I monitor my sugar levels now. I use supplements to complement areas of food I just can't stand. It's a way to get by.

And, it's a preference.
posted by dwivian at 9:17 AM on October 14, 2002

As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fry ...!
posted by octobersurprise at 9:21 AM on October 14, 2002

dwivian: I'm not trying to argue against personal preference, just keeping facts straight. There's obviously a quantum difference between leaves shrivelling and removal of oneself bodiy from the area where life is at stake. I said nothing about inferiority, therefore I don't need to address those analogies. And sure, "there are very few differences in total mass required between vegans and carnivores," there's only one, really: the amount. Vegans consume less total plant mass by more than a factor of ten.

Again, this has nothing to do with whether one form of eating is "better" or "inferior," only with the concept that "what about plants?" is a relevant argument. It ain't.

Paris, not aiming this at you - just have to address the silly "plants" meme wherever it appears.
posted by soyjoy at 9:43 AM on October 14, 2002


Turkeys can fry! Good eating, too. Laissez les bon temps rouler!
posted by bragadocchio at 9:57 AM on October 14, 2002

soyjoy: but, it is a valid argument -- the factor of 10 argument isn't valid against the fact that meat is a denser food source, by a factor of about 10 (strange how that works out). The fact that plants can't move can't be held against them for purposes of determining sentience. It's just not fair to the plant. And, I'm serious, oddly enough. I've spent too much time reading both sides of this debate not to believe that plants are more than we realize.

What it comes down to is the decision of which life must be terminated for us to survive. We can't photosynthesize, and we can't leach from minerals efficiently, so we must kill. Just because what we kill moves, or doesn't, doesn't lessen the decision we make to destroy life that we might live.

I'd be more of a plant advocate, but they taste good to me, so I'm just being pragmatic. Or Jainist. Maybe both.
posted by dwivian at 11:07 AM on October 14, 2002

Eating food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes can cause listeriosis, leading to miscarriages and stillbirths, as well as infections in those with weak immune systems. Symptoms include high fever, severe headaches and nausea. The disease is especially dangerous for pregnant women and the elderly.

Well see, if we all just don't get pregnant or become old, we'll be fine. Rright...
posted by ambivalentgirl at 11:14 AM on October 14, 2002

dwivian - Huh? Are you suggesting plant-eaters need to eat 10 times as much food to get the same nutrition as meat-eaters? This is news to me. And of course I was conservative in saying "a factor of ten," (closer to 20) the point being that this is obviously a BIG difference.

Saying that we're not being "fair to the plant" in using a common-sense criterion for sentience sounds to me like you're being flippant, not serious. Fair or not, we have to kill to eat; the "what about plants" querysuggests that there's no ethical line, only a spectrum, so we should kill whatever we please. Even if eating animals didn't kill many more plants, which it does, there's still a clear, wide and significant biological and behavioral division between plants and animals.

Since this has evolved away from the FPP, I'd suggest continuing this discussion, if you want to, one on one.
posted by soyjoy at 11:38 AM on October 14, 2002

planetkyoto, I too have done the chicken sashimi thing. When I was in Japan about two years ago, I went to this restaurant that served exclusively chicken - some 10 to 15 courses of it. I am about 90% sure it was in Kyoto but it may have been Tokyo. Anyway, the meal consisted of several courses with chicken sashimi and sushi, and some other preparations of raw chicken (and several different parts too). That meal was definitely memorable, and damn good too. Could it be the same place where you've had it...?

I remember the chef was a pretty stout guy and he always took pictures with people, and put the famous ones on the wall. Maybe our picture is there somewhere (not that I'm famous).
posted by swank6 at 11:43 AM on October 14, 2002

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