Meat! What happens to meat that’s been recalled and pulled from the sales floor? I know that not everyone may be meat eaters, but as for myself, I love it! But as many of you already know, I’ve been on a diet for the last few months of which you can read about in my post 15 Interesting Food Facts to Gobble Up. But the point is, meat is quite a bit higher in calories than chicken or fish, so lately I haven’t been eating as much meat as I’d like to.
But you know every now and then a batch of meat will hit the supermarkets that may have something wrong with it. Either some contamination or possible it’s been discovered that the source cows for the meat were carrying some sort of disease. But none the less, this type of thing can lead to the product being pulled from the shelves. So that leads us to the next question.
Where Does Recalled Meat Go?
Not too long ago, October 2002, one of the major distributors, Pilgrim’s Pride had recalled over 20 million pounds of deli meats. Supposedly they feared it was contaminated with a bacteria known as Listeria monocytogenes. Now Pilgrim’s Pride is a huge company and I’m sure most of you either eaten their products or have at least heard the name at one time or another. So what in the world did they do with all that recalled meat? I think the exact number was 27.4 million pounds, that’s a lot of meat!
Normally there may be a press release warning consumers that they may of purchased recalled meat or it could be contaminated. This is in hopes of getting any unused portions back from the consumers. Of course the rest that may be in stores is quickly removed from the shelves. Once they’ve collected all the recalled meat, then the fun begins.
As for chicken and turkey products, those are normally sent back to the factory that produced the product. Once they receive the shipment of recalled meat, they will go through each package and spray a green dye on them. This is a warning sign that says, “Don’t Eat this Meat!” Once all the packages have been clearly marked with the green dye, it is then hauled off to local landfills and dump sights. They have also been known to burn or incinerate the recalled meat.
Why Don’t the Stores Destroy the Recalled Meat?
Some business may actually destroy their own supplies of “bad” meat products, just to speed up the process of destroying it. But they have to have special permission from the federal food safety inspectors. Not only that, but the inspectors are required to oversee the whole destruction process to ensure everything is disposed of properly.
Listeriosis is a terrible disease which has been found to be fatal to infants, elderly folks and especially anyone who suffers from a weak immune system. This is why monitoring the disposal processes is of utmost importance.
Can Recalled Meat Products be Reused?
In some cases, the recalled meat is shipped off to other manufacturing plants where it’s processed into nonhuman protein sources such as dog food or food for livestock. The bacteria Listeria can be killed by burning it as long as the temperatures reach at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit. So after the recalled meat products have been incinerated, they are then safe to produce animal proteins to feed pets and livestock. But I’m sure we’re all aware of the big mad cow disease epidemic, this had made many people skeptical of feeding these meats to livestock, regardless of how well they’ve been cooked.
So I hope this hasn’t caused anyone to fear they favorite cut of meat. But this has been a real concern among consumers because it does happen from time to time. But we should feel comfort in knowing most manufacturing plants take great pride in assuring a quality product that is not only delicious, but safe for consumption.
Have you ever purchased recalled meat unknowingly? Or maybe you’ve gotten extremely sick from ingesting some bad products? Let me know your experiences with this in the comments below…..no, who’s ready for steak?!?