CDC estimates that each year roughly 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) gets sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of food-borne diseases.  Those are the kind of numbers that make you sit up and your gut roll just a little.

When our local retailers say they have not purchased any products with the latest huge batch of recalled beef -- we really, really want to believe them.  I saw signs in the meat department yesterday of one store that said there was nothing there that would hurt me.

Of course, it was in the packaged meat section -- which is not where the possibly tainted meat would show up.  The Rancho Feeding Corporation's recall will effect frozen foods, primarily, who use their beef in frozen entrees.

In the end, the retailers want to protect the customer -- who will keep shopping there -- and so they protect themselves.  We can trust that kind of relationship to a point.  However, we also have to be vigilant consumers.

So, here is what you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones:

  • Don't freak out.  Get educated and make smart decisions!  Almost every government website has ways to sign up for alerts for things like recalls.  Do it.
  • Don't ignore it.  If there is a recall, take that info to your pantry or fridge and see if you have the items that might be recalled.  You can almost always get refunds for the product but, most importantly, you won't accidentally eat it if you get rid of it.
  • Wash, Wash, Wash.  Every time you touch food and touch something else -- you could be transferring germs.  Make sure you are smart about your preparation when you cook and wash veggies (even things like carrots that you eventually peel).  Don't cut your tomato on the same cutting board with the same knife you just cut up your chicken with.
  • Cook it to temp -- every time.  The easiest way to kill a LOT of yucky stuff in food is to cook completely to the recommended temperatures.  That is especially important in frozen and prepared food.

Want more info on the latest recall?  Check out the 210 pages of information at the USDA website.

Want to know how to avoid food poisoning and what to do 'if'?  Check this out from the Oklahoma Poison Control website.