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Thread: Finding the Source of Food Poisoning Oubreaks

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    Default Finding the Source of Food Poisoning Oubreaks

    So have you wondered how the food-source is found when there is an outbreak of food poisoning such as the salmonella in peanut butter. There's a very informative article in Scientific American that details one group that apparently has been key to solving a number of cases. It's Team-D (Team Diarrhea) a group of public health graduate students who work under the supervision of the Minnesota Department of Health.

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    With "Centralized Food processing" and DNA, tracking down either E-Coli or Samonella should be a piece of cake . .

    Take hamburger . . (Please) . . seriously folks, there's only about 8 places (maybe even less today) in the USA that hamburger is processed anymore . . or at least the "mass produced" kind. Sure there's "Organic" and "Custom" butchers but they are such a small part of the overall market that they literally don't count . .

    The Jalopeno/Spinich/Lettuce deal was/is a little harder, basically because there's a large number of processors and baggers in the Salinas River Valley and apparently the DNA marker was from a Bovine source (drainage water, it turned out) so it started out with a false lead . .

    Salmonella, especially on Melons and Tomatoes is a problem, and often those two products are imported from Mexico and other sources in Latin America, so tracking that, marker or no, can be tough . .

    My problem with some of this, especially our Centralized Meat Processing is that . . simply put . .It's too "Centralized" . . used to be, if you got a lb of bad hamburger, perhaps a couple dozen people at the most would be sickened or threatened, because you got it from a local source and it was prepared, often as not, as was needed. Now, IBP in either Alliance, NE, Garden City, KA or Amarillo, TX prepares probably 50% of the hamburger consumed in the country . . so a dose of e-Coli or Salmonella from any of the three would get a tremendous number of people sick. This is only one of several Beef/Pork processors in the country, and while they can afford the liability, those who get sick cannot . .
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    Now just think about the FDA inspectors at Alliance, NE for example. Let's assume they have a number of repeat violations and believe the plant should be shut down. Supervision ain't gonna let it happen--"Too big to fail"

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    'S'matter of fact, you're right . . too few inspectors spread far too thin, with almost NO Authority . .

    And . . if Ag Inspectors are few and far between at the meat processing plants, gotta just think about how the Produce business is policed . . I won't go into what I've been told by Farmers selling produce to chain retailers, but I buy almost all my produce locally, during the season . . just to be on the safe side . .
    "A man with a firearm is a citizen... a man without one is a subject"

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    I still go to the farms out east of Pueblo in the summer every time I get a chance. You're lucky in that the truck farms around Denver have all fallen victim to the high price of real estate here. Besides that okra and blackeyed peas grow well in Pueblo, but not up here. It's rare to find either of those in the markets up here. Give me some blackeyed peas, fried okra and some southern cornbread with sorghum molasses and I'm happier than a kid in a sandbox.

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    I'm happier than a kid in a sandbox.
    Heh, heh, depends on whether you have a cat or not . . .
    "A man with a firearm is a citizen... a man without one is a subject"

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    Quote Originally Posted by large View Post
    Heh, heh, depends on whether you have a cat or not . . .
    I wondered what you would do if it was the neighbor's cat. I found an answer for that at Yahoo! Answers under the title: "My neighbor's cat keeps sh***ing in my sandbox..." The guy asks: "How can I stop this cat from going in my kids sandbox?"

    The best answer listed was:

    "a 12-gauge should do the trick"

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    Hmmmm, mebbee not . . Heh, heh . . I'd just cover the sandbox . . The 12 Ga. will get most citizens in more trouble than they can pay to get out of . .

    Kinda like one of my neighbors last spring . . it was during that coolspell, and he came over asking if I knew anything about Bees . . Then he took me to his house and showed me a swarm settling on a big branch on a willow tree in front . . He said, "I was thinking I should get out my 12 Ga. and shoot right into the middle of it, that'll run 'em off!" . . .

    I told him that were he to do that, the bees would be only part of the problem . . Because there would be the Ticket that the Police would write for discharging a Firearm in the City Limits, the confiscation of the shotgun (which I think is one of the cheaper Benellis, if there is such a thing) once you got out of the Emergency Ward for all those Bee Stings . .

    Swarming Bees in the spring, Cat Crap in the kid's sandbox all summer, and the Elm and Maple leaves from your neighbor's trees in the fall should just be tolerated . . there's wayyy too many serious things to get excited about . . heh, heh . . .
    "A man with a firearm is a citizen... a man without one is a subject"

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    Anybody remember the meat packing plant on Santa Fe? My dad worked there, and when he took me there to watch what was going on, there was a guy there cutting into the cheek meat of a cow. There were a whole bunch of those skinned-out heads. He was a veterinarian employed by the government to inspect the meat as it was being processed. After my dad decided that buying cattle on the road was too much, he spent the last 5 years he worked there, collecting samples from various places in the plant and delivering them to a lab to be tested. Don't they have those things anymore? Of course that plant went out of business when the union went out on strike, and the company simply closed the plant. But 'Not enough inspectors'? I'd bet there a lot of people in the Ag department of the US sitting on their duffs pushing papers around that are costing the price of a few inspectors, and I'd bet they could be gotten rid of with no losses. Yeah, I'm cruel and unusual.

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    Quote Originally Posted by opa View Post
    But 'Not enough inspectors'? I'd bet there a lot of people in the Ag department of the US sitting on their duffs pushing papers around that are costing the price of a few inspectors, and I'd bet they could be gotten rid of with no losses.
    Sir, you're badmouthing the bureaucracy here . . That's how it works, or didn'cha know? For ever actual and functioning Person (Inspectors, whatever) there are aproximately 100 people who, when asked on any particular day "What do you actually do here", cannot put together a good answer . . That's how the bureaucracy works. At state level the number of non productives probably drops to about half the federal level . . etc.

    This actually was proven several years back in (Specifically) the Dept. of Agriculture, the Defense Department (Notably, the Pentagon) and the Department of Interior . . And I would suppose, more or less in every department in both the state and federal governments . .

    And . . I'm sure any of those asked, while not really knowing what they really do, could tell you their job is justified because they belong to AFSCME or SEIU or some other Governmental Employees Union . .

    Which causes me to ask . . WHY DO PUBLIC SECTOR EMPLOYEES NEED A UNION?

    Now that's off topic . .
    "A man with a firearm is a citizen... a man without one is a subject"

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