A new policy to give the public lists of retailers who bought recalled beef, pork, and poultry is on the radar screen at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Food Safety & Inspection Service (FSIS).
But just like when the Army put the first radar up on Oahu, it does work on weekends. Consider last Friday’s recall of 2,268 pounds of beef and bean burritos by the Riverside, CA-based Windsor Foods.
At four ounces each, it means there are 9,072 burritos out there that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. Windsor manufactured the “Butcher Boy Red Chili Beef & Bean Burritos” on Aug. 3, 2009. The last known location of 126 cases was a storage center somewhere in Minnesota.
Beef and bean burritos like these are usually found on the bottom shelf of convenience stores. The privately held Windsor Foods exists to pump impulse items to convenience stores.
As of late Monday, FSIS had not published a list of retailers who might have the missing burritos. It probably will soon.
The new policy only applies the most serious Class I, High Health risk recalls. FSIS took some heat last summer when it took two weeks to post the list of retailers who received E. coli-tainted products from the JBS Swift Greeley Beef Plant. Since then, in recalls where the policy applies, the retail list has usually followed the recall announcement within a few days.
The beef and bean recall illustrates why this important. Convenience stores purchase burritos by the case. Each 18-pound case contains 72 burritos. Each case will have a Windsor’s establishment number (“EST. 1905) within the USDA inspection mark, a package code of “1219215,” and a case code of “2080001.” The cases are also stamped “Keep Frozen.”
Convenience stores, however, do not typically sell beef and bean burritos by the case. Customers buy them one or two at time. Of the markings, only the case code is printed on the individual burrito.
Everyday that goes by without a list of retailers makes it all the more likely that every one of those 9,072 burritos is going to be eaten by someone who makes a poor choice when they reach into the convenience store cooler.
The 13-year old company came about in 1996 from the acquisition of Keebler Company’s frozen food division. It operates 27 lines in nine food-processing plants located in six states.
Anyone eating just one of the burritos contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes risks coming down with listeriosis, a rare but potentially fatal disease. Symptoms include high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness and nausea. Stillbirths and miscarriages often result for pregnant women with listeriosis.
Infants, the elderly, and persons with weakened immune systems from such conditions as HIV infection or reaction from chemotherapy can experience fatal infections.© Food Safety News