Blame the victim – egg-industry style
Posted: August 29th, 2010 - 8:03pm
Elizabeth Weise writes in tomorrow’s USA Today today that in the wake of one of the largest egg recalls on record with more than 1,400 illnesses linked to eggs produced on two Iowa farms, the egg industry is reorting to the worst tactic of all – blaming the victim.
Krista Eberle of the United Egg Producers' Egg Safety Center said,
"Some people may not think of an egg as you would ground beef, but they need to start. It may sound harsh and I don't mean it to sound that way. But all the responsibility cannot be placed on the farmer. Somewhere along the line consumers have to be responsible for what they put in their bodies."
So what about all those food magazines and porn shows with images of lovingly undercooked eggs?
I told Weise there has been some kind of massive failure for that many people to get sick with salmonella, and that if indeed eggs now need to be treated "like hazardous waste," then the issue isn't so much the egg on the plate as the egg in the bowl, and on the counter and stove.
Douglas Powell, a professor of food safety at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, said,
"You know, when you're making scrambled eggs and egg ends up on the counter?" His team at K-State has spent hundreds of hours videotaping actual home cooks working in actual kitchens. Eggs could end up anywhere, on hands, dish towels, utensils, the stove, everywhere. People are basically "delusional at how good they are at handling food.”
Nancy Donley, board president of Safe Tables Our Priority, a food safety consumer group, said,
"Telling me that basically 'You didn't cook it right,' it's just offensive. The problem isn't how consumers are preparing the food, the problem is that the food is contaminated. They keep trying to push the responsibility onto consumers, they're just not taking their own responsibility."
If consumers are really being held accountable as the last line of defense in the food safety farm-to-fork line, then the egg industry needs to be explicit about it, says Carol Tucker-Foreman, an assistant secretary of agriculture under President Carter who's worked on food policy at Consumer Federation of America for decades.
"Should egg cartons be required to carry a message that says 'Warning — to protect your health and the health of those in your household, you should assume that these eggs are contaminated with Salmonella Enteriditis and must be handled carefully in order to avoid possible illness?' " she asks.
http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/food/2010-08-29-egg-safety_N.htm - open-share-help