There’s good news today from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, (USDA). They’ve finally taken a step in the right direction when it comes to informing consumers about beef recalls. According to a press release from the Consumers Union, the USDA will now disclose which retailers carry the beef involved in any “Class 1” recall.
Class 1 recalls are issued when it’s believed that a supply of beef could have potentially serious adverse health effects to those who consume it. The largest recall in U.S. history to date — the Hallmark/Westland downer cattle debacle — was a Class 2 recall because officials didn’t think beef from the facility's sick/injured cattle put the public at risk.
Prior to the USDA’s announcement, when a shipment of beef was believed to be contaminated (usually with deadly E.coli bacteria), consumers were only notified of the states to which the beef was shipped. In some cases, they were lucky enough to receive a number or date to look for on a package. Now we’ll have a list of grocery retailers and supermarkets to reference.
If you’re listening USDA, thank you, but we’d also love to see the new rule extended to Class 2 recalls as well. Consumers have the right to know what they’re purchasing and from where.