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Archive for the 'Corporate Carelessness' Category

CONSUMER ALERT! MORE BAD BEEF

Posted in Corporate Carelessness, Corporate Polluters, Corporate Responsibility, Eco Thugs, Health Watch, Public Service Announcement, Toxic Food, Toxin Alert! on August 9th, 2008

FOR THE SECOND TIME IN AS MANY MONTHS BEEF FROM NEBRASKA BEEF LTD MAY BE CONTAMINATED WITH E. COLI

burgers.jpgNebraska Beef Ltd. announced Friday night that it is recalling 1.2 million pounds of fresh ground beef because the product may be contaminated with E. coli. This is the second time in as many months that the company has had to recall product. Last months recall is blamed for at least 49 cases of E. coli.

Stores affected by this latest recall include Whole Foods Markets in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, Massachusetts, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington D. C., Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Canada.

To date, Whole Foods reports that seven people in Massachusetts and two people in Pennsylvania have become ill after eating the affected meat. The company is requesting that customers who purchased ground beef from June 2 though Aug. 6 to return it to the store with the packaging or receipt for a refund.

For more information, consumers can call 512-542-0878.

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PLANT RESPONSIBLE FOR 143 MILLION POUND BEEF RECALL, EXPECTED TO CLOSE

Posted in Corporate Carelessness, Corporate Greed, Corruption Watch, Health Watch, News Brief, Toxic Food on February 25th, 2008

CALIFORNIA MEATPACKER A MAJOR SUPPLIER TO THE NATIONAL SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM

sickcowa11.jpgThe death knell is sounding for Chino, California meatpacker, Hallmark/Westland, following last weeks recall of 143 million pounds of fresh and frozen beef processed at the privately held California plant.

The recall, the industry’s largest, was ordered by the USDA following the release of an undercover video by the Humane Society of the United States, showing workers at the company’s Chino, California facility attempting to force injured or sick cows to stand with forklifts and electric-shock devices.

USDA rules prohibit “downer” cows from entering the food supply as the inability to stand can often be a symptom of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, better known to us mere mortals as mad-cow disease.

But the company’s alleged offenses did not stop there. The USDA also claims to have evidence that Hallmark/Westland employees had permitted some “downer” cows to go to slaughter after the cows had previously passed a preslaughter inspection. In such instances, meatpackers are required to contact USDA veterinarians for an additional inspection, something that the regulatory agency claims that Hallmark/Westland did not do.

As one who enjoys a good cheeseburger from time to time, I find myself unable, no make that unwilling, to feel all that bad for this company. Mad cow is nothing to be trifled with, as is any of the food borne illnesses. The failure to be conscious of this and to act accordingly reflects that this company, like so many others, possesses a culture which rewards greed and not employees dong what is best for their product’s end users. Employees do not make these sort of decisions on their own. Management was either aware of this or was so incompetent that they do not deserve to be in a business where their actions can impact on so many of our lives. What makes this situation particularly infuriating is that Hallmark/Westland is a major supplier of meat products to the National School Lunch Program.

Hopefully a fair investigation will be pursued and those found culpable charged in the appropriate jurisdiction.

One of the unfortunate realities of life today is that the majority of American corporations cannot be trusted to act in the best interest of their customers. The lure of record profits is enough in far too many instances for companies to be willing to play the odds. In this case, they got caught. But what about all of the times that this sort of action takes place and the first we know of it is when people start getting sick? Perhaps if we started holding the leaders of companies personally responsible for the actions of their companies, sincere efforts would be taken to ensure safer manufacturing processes. There is nothing like the threat of a protracted legal matter to make one think twice about committing criminal acts.

But then again, to do this, we would need to have a sufficient number of line inspectors to oversee these plants. Maybe when George Bush has ridden off into the sunset we will once again return sanity to the corporate arena.

- LIB

READ MORE….

Link to Humane Society Video

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FOOD POISONING’S LONG TERM EFFECTS

Posted in Corporate Carelessness, Corporate Greed, Corporate Polluters, Health Watch, News Brief on January 22nd, 2008

E. COLI AND OTHER FOODBORNE ILLNESSES CAN TRIGGER SERIOUS HEALTH PROBLEMS YEARS LATER

hardees_hmed_12phmedium.jpgA dirty little secret that the food industry would rather that you did not know is that an ever-increasing number of individuals who suffered a bout of food poisoning in their younger years, have started to develop serious life-threatening illnesses, such as high blood pressure, kidney damage and in some cases total renal failure, sometimes as much as 10 to 20 years after their initial go-around with the disease.

While it is true that at the present time these conditions strike only a small fraction of the millions of people who get food poisoning each year, experts are unsure as to how many individuals may ultimately be at risk.

The sad thing is that most food-born illnesses do not have to occur. For the most part they are the end result of carelessness on the part of food growers, processors, and in some instances those responsible for preparing and serving the food.

In the past, much of this would have been caught long before it hand made its way to market, by our nations highly skilled cadre of federal food inspectors.

Sadly, this is no longer the case. Recent years have seen the virtual elimination of this last line of defense, ostensively as a cost cutting measure.

But as we now know, cost had little to do with the matter. The food inspectors were eliminated to placate administration friends in the AG business, incensed at years of losses incurred in making their products conform to federally mandated health and safety standards. It was the food industry’s contention and that of its friends in the Bush administration, that it was capable of policing itself and did not need costly government functionaries breathing down their neck at every turn.

Well, less than a decade later, it is apparent that this was wishful thinking of the most naïve sort. We now know that the food industry and for that matter, most industries, are incapable of policing themselves, and when forced to choose between what is best for their customers or their own bottom line, the bottom line always wins.

So what is a consumer to do?

Ideally, the way to go is to eliminate all meat and dairy products from one’s diet, though there are not that many of us willing or able to do so. A more reasonable suggestion, perhaps, is to eliminate any product, which is potentially suspect. This list is large and includes most prepackaged meat products such as burgers, hot dogs and cold cuts, as well as virtually all fast food items.

On a similar topic, it is important to carefully hand wash all fruits and vegetables, using one of those veggie wash solutions whenever possible. This extra step will remove whatever chemical residue remains on the item. Remember, it is not enough that the package says that it is pre-washed. Wash it yourself then you will know that it is clean.

Another good suggestion is to consider buying only organically certified fruits and vegetables. While they cost more and in some cases may not look as attractive, they are usually better tasting as they have not been sprayed with toxic substances or genetically modified as so much food is today.

-LIB

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MORE BAD BEEF RECALLED

Posted in Corporate Carelessness, Corporate Greed, Health Watch, News Brief on January 15th, 2008

188,000 POUNDS OF BEEF RECALLED BECAUSE OF E. COLI BACTERIA CONCERNS

2007-10-05-meat_patties1.jpgJust when you thought that it might be safe again to order that special hamburger with all the fixings, think again.

The Rochester Meat Company of Minnesota has announced that it has issued a recall of 188,000 pounds of hamburger patties and other beef products after five illnesses potentially cause by E. Coli bacteria were reported in Wisconsin and one in California.

The affected beef was produced October 30th and November 6th and was shipped to distributors nationwide for use in restaurants and food service institutions. The good news here is that it was not sold to consumers at retail, so there is not a lingering time bomb in your freezer.

Hopefully, whoever becomes president next year reinstates the FDA and Ag Department’s field inspectors and we can get a handle on this situation.

In the interim, the best advice I can give is avoid meat whenever possible.

-LIB

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BEEF INDUSTRY SUFFERS NEAR RECORD NUMBER OF RECALLS IN 2007 FOR E. COLI CONTAMINATION

Posted in Corporate Carelessness, Corporate Greed, Corporate Responsibility, Health Watch, News Brief, Toxic Food on December 10th, 2007

INDUSTRY BLAMES EVERYTHING FROM THE CYCLICAL NATURE OF PATHOGENS TO CHANGES IN CATTLE-FEEDING PRACTICES CAUSED BY THE POPULARITY OF ETHANOL

topps-meat.jpgIn a time of the year traditionally dominated by lists tallying the best of this or the worst of that, perhaps the most disturbing is the one memorializing the near record number of recalls of chop meat suspected of being infected with the E.coli pathogen.

For those of us keeping score, to date, and this is with at least three weeks to go in 2007, there have been twenty major chop meat recalls. This is just one short of the record of 21 recalls established in 2000 and repeated in 2002. But what makes this number particularly distressing is that it represents a more than doubling over 2006’s numbers and a tripling of those reported in 2005.

Now I love the reasons the meat industry is giving for the recalls, everything from the cyclical nature of pathogens to changes in cattle-feeding practices caused by the popularity of ethanol.

While it is likely that each of these may have played at least some part in the increase, what the report fails to address is the impact on these numbers of the near decimation by the Bush administration of the ranks of federal food inspectors. In the past these men and women regularly inspected the offending plants and forced the meat industry to adhere to certain minimum health standards. Now, corporations are expected to self-police. Clearly the numbers make the case for their inability to do so.

- LIB

MORE….

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PARENTS ALERT! SOURCING SAFE TOYS

Posted in Corporate Carelessness, Corporate Greed, Health Watch, News Brief, Toxic Toys on November 30th, 2007

THIS YEAR 23 MILLION TOYS HAVE BEEN RECALLED AND THE U.S. CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION HAS INDICATED THERE MAY BE OTHERS PULLED OFF THE MARKET BEFORE CHRISTMAS

7742288toy-recallsff.jpgA poll done last month by Harris Interactive showed that about 33 percent of Americans say they will be buying fewer toys this holiday season due to safety concerns, and 45 percent said they will avoid buying toys made in China. Many readers of this column have e-mailed me to say the same thing.

But buying toys made in America isn’t easy – about 80 percent of the toys sold in this country come from China – plus there is no guarantee a toy made in the U.S. is safe. It could be assembled here with imported parts that contain lead or have small parts that could choke a child.

Marianne Szymanski, publisher of Toy Tips and Parenting Hints magazine says parents don’t need to panic, because most toys on the market are safe. Chinese factories will make about 8 billion toys for sale in America this year and only 2 percent of them, she says, have been recalled.

MORE…

Source: MSNBC

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STUDY: RISING GREEN HOUSE GAS EMISSIONS RESPONSIBLE FOR 400% INCREASE IN WEATHER-RELATED DISASTERS THESE PAST TWENTY YEARS

Posted in Corporate Carelessness, Corporate Greed, Corporate Polluters, Global Warming, Government Shenanigans, News Brief on November 26th, 2007

WHERE 120 NATURAL DISASTERS PER YEAR WAS THE AVERAGE IN THE EARLY 1980S, TODAY THE ANNUAL FIGURE IS CLOSER TO 500

2007-10-26-rostonstory.jpgOh! Goody. More data. More brilliant men and women telling us what we already know, that this is indeed our eve of destruction. That the killer fires, floods, hurricanes, droughts and other extreme weather related disasters wreaking havoc on our planet, the past few years, are our own damn fault. That it is our society that is undermining our continued existence by poisoning our atmosphere with the unchecked release of raw, untreated greenhouse gasses.

And guess what we as a society will do with this scientifically documented and peer reviewed information? Not a goddamn thing!

It astounds me, a logical man, that in light of the wealth of data supporting this argument, that there are still those among us who have the audacity, no, make that stupidity, to dispute the correlation between the two. What is it going to take for them to see the light? Will they ever?

Is it going to take a natural disaster in Grosse Point, Michigan for the auto industry to become believers and truly support the next generation of hydrogen/electric cars and trucks that produce zero emissions?

Does Washington DC need to be wiped out by killer tornados for congressmen and congresswomen to cut their ties with the auto, fossil fuel and cattle lobbyists and do what is right for the American people?

Or do the waves need to start to overlap Batter Park in New York’s historic Wall Street district, for the gray suit and bible boys and girls who make up our corporate elite to begin using their dollars for what is best for our nation and our people and not just for the select few?

Sadly, if it takes till then, it will be too late.

-LIB

More than four times the number of natural disasters are occurring now than did two decades ago, British charity Oxfam said in a study Sunday that largely blamed global warming.

“Oxfam… says that rising green house gas emissions are the major cause of weather-related disasters and must be tackled,” the organization said, adding that the world’s poorest people were being hit the hardest…

“This is no freak year,” noted Oxfam director Barbara Stocking. “It follows a pattern of more frequent, more erratic, more unpredictable and more extreme weather events that are affecting more people.”

MORE…

Source: APF

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CALIFORNIA TAKES MATTEL AND OTHERS TO COURT OVER TOXIC TOYS

Posted in Corporate Carelessness, Corporate Greed, Corporate Polluters, Health Watch, News Brief, Toxic Toys on November 20th, 2007

ALLEGES MATTEL, TOYS “R” US, WAL-MART, TARGET, SEARS, KB TOYS, COSTCO AND OTHERS KNOWINGLY SOLD TOYS WITH UNSAFE LEVELS OF LEAD. EACH OF THE NAMED DEFENDANTS COULD BE REQUIRED TO PAY AS MUCH AS $2,500 PER VIOLATION

Spinning Top RecallThe ridiculous belief in deregulation and in the ability of corporations to self police, a cornerstone of the Bush business philosophy, took a crashing blow to its credibility yesterday as the State of California filed suit in Superior Court against 20 companies, including Mattel, , alleging that the defendants “knowingly” sold toys containing “unlawful quantities of lead. Moreover, the named companies “failed to provide warning of the risk to consumers.”

The legal justification for the state’s action is a 1986 California law, the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, better known to state residents as Proposition 65. Joining the state in the suit is the City of Los Angeles. If California is successful in the courts, each of the named defendants could be required to pay as much as $2,500.00 per toy found to contain excessive levels of lead.

Kudos to California for having the courage to step up and act in this matter. In a more perfect world, filings like this would be the job of the Federal Government. That is, in a more perfect world.

It is indeed criminal that toys containing excessive levels of lead, or any other toxin for that matter (think the Aqua Dots covered in the date-rape drug), could even be allowed to leave the factory, let alone be exported around the world and distributed to retail stores without a thorough inspection. The fact that this happened proves how little these companies care about anything or anyone other then their financial bottom line. Otherwise, this scandal would have been caught early on and no one would be aware of it today. For ignoring their responsibility to our children, the named defendants should pay and pay dearly. This is the only thing that these corporations understand.

The only question that remains in light of the California filing is what will be the ultimate end destination of these recalled products? My fear is that they will wind up in the “Big Lots’” and Marshall’s of the world from which they will make their way into many poorer homes, homes where the parents are not as aware of the present scandal. This is an aspect of the story the no one is apparently willing to address, and which should ideally be addressed before the holiday season begins in a few days.

If you feel as strongly as I do about this matter, contact your local media. Many if enough of us make an issue of this, we can prevent it from being swept under the table.

- LIB

MORE….

Source: The Associated Press

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FRIDAY’S RECALL ROUNDUP

Posted in Corporate Carelessness, Corporate Greed, Health Watch, Toxic Toys on November 9th, 2007

TOYS, TOYS AND MORE TOYS FACE RECALL

curious_george_071108_ms.jpgThe following are the latest in the seemingly never ending list of toys and other consumer goods, manufactured in China, that are facing recall for excessive levels of lead

- About 110,000 Curious George dolls dolls, imported and sold by Marvel Toys since 2005.

- About 2,600 Robot 2000 collectible tin robots, imported by Schylling Associates and sold in U.S. stores from October 2006 through September 2007.

- About 1,300 Dizzy Ducks music box toys, imported by Schylling Associates and sold in stores from March 2007 through October 2007.

- About 3,600 Winnie the Pooh spinning toys, imported by Schylling Associates and sold in stores from April 2003 through November 2003.

- About 3,500 Duck Family wind-up toys, imported by Schylling Associates and sold from January 2007 through August 2007.

- About 380,000 Pull-Back Action toy cars imported by Dollar General Merchandising and sold in U.S. Dollar General stores from April 2007 through October 2007.

- About 7,500 Dragster and Funny Car toys imported by International Sourcing and sold at National Hot Rod Association events and Matco Tools from March 2007 through September 2007.

- About 7,200 Big Red wagons imported by Northern Tool & Equipment and sold through the company’s catalogue, website and U.S. stores from July 2007 through September 2007.

Luckily, as of this writing, no adverse health effects associated with any of the products have been reported.

High amounts of lead can harm the kidneys and other major organs. Anemia, a decline in red blood cells, can occur, as well as damage to the nervous system that may impair mental function. Lead poisoning can also cause seizures or death.

-LIB

Source: CBC / The Associated Press

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MORE TAINTED BEEF RECALLED

Posted in Corporate Carelessness, Corporate Greed, Health Watch, News Brief on November 3rd, 2007

CARGILL RECALLS MORE THAN 1 MILLION POUNDS OF BEEF POSSIBLY TAINTED BY E-COLI

2007-10-05-meat_patties1.jpgThe giant agribusiness company Cargill Inc. said Saturday it is recalling more than 1 million pounds of ground beef that may be contaminated with E. coli bacteria.

The ground beef was produced between Oct. 8 and Oct. 11 at Cargill Meat Solutions’ plant in Wyalusing, Pa. and distributed to retailers across the country. They include Giant, Shop Rite, Stop & Shop, Wegmans and Weis.

Cargill learned the meat may be contaminated after the Agriculture Department found a problem with a sample of the beef produced on Oct. 8, the company said. The bacteria is E. coli 0157:H7.

“No illnesses have been associated with this product,” said John Keating, president of Cargill Regional Beef, said in a statement. “We are working closely with the USDA to remove this product from the marketplace.”

E. coli is harbored in the intestines of cattle. Improper butchering and processing can cause the E. coli to get onto meat. Thorough cooking, to at least 160 degrees internal temperature, can destroy the bacteria.

E. coli 0157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause bloody diarrhea and dehydration. The very young, seniors and people with compromised immune systems are the most susceptible to E. coli.

THE LIST OF RECALLED PRODUCTS AFTER THE JUMP

Source: The Associated Press / ABC NEWS

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