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PHOTOS: Massive Food Recalls

image of Mara Grunbaum

Massive food recalls seem to have hit every aisle in the grocery store over the last few years. Most recently, more than half a billion eggs have been recalled due to a salmonella outbreak. Seems like the kind of thing we ought to be alarmed about -- but due to the fracturing of government agencies that regulate food safety, there’s actually no good way to measure whether recalls are on the rise, says Patty Lovera with the nonprofit Food and Water Watch. One thing’s pretty clear, though: Due to the interconnectedness of our industrial food supply, it’s easy for a problem at a single processing plant to affect supermarket shelves throughout the country. That means today’s disease outbreaks are more likely to be far-reaching. A set of bills in Congress is designed to give federal agencies greater authority to force and track recalls -- right now, most are voluntary -- but legislation that passed the House earlier this year stalled in the Senate before recess. The egg recall might push senators to get cracking.

Here’s a look at some major recent food-borne illness outbreaks and recalls:

image of Mara Grunbaum
Mara Grunbaum is a freelance science and environmental reporter based in Brooklyn, NY. Her work has also appeared in Discover, Scientific American, Popular Mechanics and Scienceline.org. She grew up poking at tide pools in Seattle, Washington.
Hello, This situation doesn't at all surprise me, because many years ago I purchased a book by Gary Null about our food system; and he made lots of remarks in it; about how bad it was. Also, if people would spend a few dollars and purchase Food Inc., more pictures and the reality of how bad our food system is; are in that documentary. Purchasing what is cheap/inexpensive, will only cause people to pay later on, with doctor bills, and illnesses, for themselves and their children; if they don't become educated as to what the truth is and what goes on with the production of food in this country. It's actually a despicable situation, that if people will use a modicum of intelligence and take time; they'll learn about what they and their children are consuming. Too many people in this country have grown apathetic about issues that concern them, with apathy comes a sense of not being able to do anything about ones situation; but this is NOT TRUE! People can do something about the situation and not pay attention to all the stupid commercials for all the junk on the supermarket shelves. People can start their children off with vegetables right away in infancy, and choose not to purchase sugar sweetened cereals, that all the goodness is processed out of. People can choose whole grains that taste good, over white tasteless, nutrition lacking bread products. There are so many other choices that one can make, aside from the junk that is heavily advertised! These people want the citizens to purchase and consume these inferior products, so that you support the allopathic medical community and the pharmaceutical industry; don't people understand that? If that wasn't the case, then you would see more about organic, whole grains of products not processed so much, vegetables advertised, without having to use a salad dressing; for children/people to make them palatable to consume. There would be better products advertised, and the advertising wouldn't be stupid and senseless. Why should a mother quiet a person from saying something about a serving of vegetables being in an inferior food product? Vegetables and fruits should be an automatic part of everyday life, without making a big to do out of it. They're natural food products that people both young and old, should be consuming daily, not in a canned pasta product; where on the can it says there is a serving of vegetables. If there is a serving of vegetables in the can, it isn't a quality serving of them. This is all too obnoxious to me, that people are so weird about accepting the inferior food products to fuel their brains and bodies; and that of their children. How do children have the energy to think and solve problems both in school and in their lives, eating the junk they do? I'm talkingfar too long here, but am angry about the weirdness of our society, and the manner in which inferior food is produced and allowed to be in American homes. The eggs are just one aspect of it, but Food Inc, takes a broader look; at how awful the food industry really is. PEOPLE NEED TO WAKE UP! This has been going on for far too long, and I wish people would rise up and demand better from the food industry. But they have to change their mindset and choose to be proactive about it. Not enough people are, so the junky food products will continue because not enough people care to do something about it! Linda