Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Dangerous food

E. coli poisoning in ground beef results in at least three hospitalizations.

Some of the affected batch ended up at BJ's Wholesale locations in MA. That's where we bought our hamburger patties for this summer's cookout.

The batch was dated June 11. We bought ours in late June.

At the cookout, I told one of our guests that I wasn't going to allow Cloud to eat the burgers because of the risk of E. coli. She said, "You don't know there's any E. coli in those burgers."

"And it's a risk I'm not willing to take," I said. "If I eat food tainted with E. coli, nothing much will happen. If he eats it, he could die. No ground beef until he's at least three."

"Not all strains of E. coli are toxic," she said.

"Right, and just like I don't know if there's any E. coli in the meat at all, I likewise don't know what strain it is," I said. "It's a simple case of risk assessment."

It turns out the risk was in fact very high.

Let this be a lesson: never, never, NEVER tell the parent of a young or otherwise vulnerable child they're being too cautious about the child's diet. If they are being too cautious, it's not your problem anyhow. Laugh and blog about them behind their backs if you want. And if they're wise to be cautious, let's hope they don't get their fears confirmed the hard way.


We had leftover raw burgers, which I refroze and recently thawed again, and I was persuaded to cook one for Cloud in order to use it up. If I'd known about the recall, I'd have thrown the leftovers all out instead. Fortunately, everyone here is healthy and fine, but I wish I hadn't compromised my principles on the off-chance that there was an FDA recall warning on that batch of meat.

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