As ThinkProgress reported yesterday, despite yet another outbreak of food-borne illness — this time stemming from listeria infected cantaloupes — congressional Republicans are still trying to cut back on the nation’s food safety regulations. The tainted melons have caused 16 deaths so far, making this the deadliest outbreak in more than a decade, and it comes just a month after salmonella-tainted turkey forced food-giant Cargill into the third-largest food recall on record.
Lost in the well-deserved focus on the listeria outbreak is the fact that another giant food-producer, Tyson Fresh Meats, was forced this week to recall more than 130,000 pounds of ground beef due to E. Coli contamination. And this particular breakdown in food safety should earn the attention of the man leading the GOP in its slash-and-burn approach to the budget, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), as four children in his district were sickened by the meat:
The recall of 65 tons of ground beef that might be contaminated with E. coli has hit close to home for House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio.
The meat, recalled today by Tyson Fresh Meats, was shipped to 16 states…WCPO, ABC’s affiliate in Cincinnati, reported today, “four children became ill after eating the meat with their family in Butler County, Ohio, in the second week of September.” “A 9-year-old child was hospitalized for about 10 days with severe diarrhea,” the station reported.
As we’ve pointed out time and time again, one in six Americans is sickened by food-borne illness each year, and more than 3,000 die. The annual cost to the country of food-borne illnesses is $152 billion, according to Georgetown University’s Produce Safety Project. However, the GOP has not only refused to fund the implementation of a landmark food safety law passed last year, but has said that the current rules on the books are too onerous, because the food industry “self-polices.” But as the current slew of recalls shows, that it clearly not the case.