Costco called today–Friday, May 9–to inform us that they’re recalling the May’s Teriyaki hamburger patties, along with about 70,000 pounds of other May’s products, that we bought a few weeks ago because they may be tainted with E. coli.
You mean the two boxes that we all snarfed down and I served to toddlers and my elderly grandparents at my daughter’s friggin’ birthday party?! That’s how I wanted to respond, but I was too busy going online to research the incubation period of the bacteria and find the best deal on a family burial plot.
I realize that it’s not Costco’s fault they sold a potentially lethal product to the unsuspecting public, just as it’s not my fault for serving the possibly tainted beef to my guests, but it still pisses me off.
Who’s to blame? May’s is actually a division of Palama Beef–a company that’s processed about 80 million pounds of flesh over the past 55 years with no recalls until this one. According to the May 9 Honolulu Star Bulletin, Palama Beef says the sample containing E. coli came from the unused portion of some “raw materials” from “an outside vendor.” I’m hoping that they mean raw meat from a guy who raises cattle, but I’m thinking that if it were as simple as that, they would have said so.
Furthermore, the Bulletin reports that Palama Beef indicated that by the time the recall was announced, 40 percent of the tainted beef was recovered. Are we supposed to find this comforting or grossly negligent? Does this mean that somehow, the company managed to collect close to 28,000 pounds of beef before letting the public know that there was a problem? The word “recovered” sticks out like a sore thumb and makes me think that it was already on it way to the consumer.
I’d think the process of “recovering” something would take at least a little bit of time. What about the people who decided to eat their May’s while the company was busy recovering meat? What if they got sick and it could have been prevented?
I decided to check out the May’s website (www.mayshawaii.com) to see if I could get any more info about the recall straight from the horse’s mouth, but guess what? There was nothing, nada, not a single word about the recall on the site. Instead, there was a picture of a delectable looking burger and a newsflash saying that, “May’s Mobile is coming to your local supermarket!”
At press time the U.S. Department of Agriculture says there have been no reported illnesses, which is wonderful considering the assumption that most local folk buy May’s patties in bulk to serve at parties or large BBQ’s where a lot of the consumers are young children–those most at-risk for serious complications from E. coli.
For those of you that may have eaten recalled meat, the incubation period is between three to nine days. So if you start feeling sick in that time frame, make sure you get to the doctor and hire an attorney fast.
Illness from E. coli can be difficult to prove, which means you’ll probably have to bury your pride and subject yourself to giving several fecal samples; but if it’s verified, I’m thinking that you could be compensated a pretty sum.
Assuming, of course, that you survive.
Starr Begley wished that she were a vegetarian until she remembered the big Spinach Disaster of 2006. MTW