Bush administration's murderous incompetence continues

When the Topps Meat Company recalled 300,000 pounds of frozen hamburger on September 25 because of E. coli contamination that was bad. It got worse on September 30 when the recall was expanded to 21.76 million pounds, the third largest recall in US history. It got worse yet when it was revealed that 28 people in Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania states have fallen ill from eating the contaminated meat. Maybe the worst yet comes from a Chicago/McClathy Tribune News Service report that the US Department of Agriculture waited 18 days after learning of the contamination to make the recall:

The timing of the Topps recall, and its rapid expansion, are bound to raise more questions about the nation's food safety system. So far, 28 people in eight states _ most in the Northeast _ have fallen ill from eating the hamburger, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.

Yet at the USDA, tests confirmed the presence of the E coli bacteria strain O157:H7 in the Topps hamburgers on Sept. 7, according to an e-mail from Kis Roberston, an employee of the USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS).

Robertson, who declined comment, sent the e-mail to Scott Schlesinger, an attorney for Samantha Safranek, a Florida teenager who fell ill in August after eating a Topps hamburger.

Robertson's e-mail states: "The patties taken from the Safraneks were confirmed positive for E coli O157:H7 by FSIS on 9/07/07. The leftover product samples are still at Eastern Laboratory in Athens, GA. The decision to release these has to come from Agency leadership and I don't know what has been decided." (Chicago Tribune via Trading Charts)

The USDA recall initially only covered New York state. New York issued an immediate consumer alert, even before the company or USDA. The illnesses go further back, with onsets from early July until early September. Since the meat was still out there for two more weeks, more cases might come to light. Infection with this strain of E. coli can cause serious illness and kidney failure. Samantha Safranek wound up on kidney dialysis.

The Leitmotif of the Bush administration from Day One has been incompetence. Murderous incompetence.

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Yes, it is all Bush's fault. Can you please explain the policy changes at the USDA that Bush made that allowed this to happen? Surely a rational and reasonable person would not make allegations unless proof was provided.

I can understand that some people prefer being seen as ignorant and irrational by refusing to show the policies which Bush changed that allowed for this to happen while still making accusations.

The article you cited is also biased in its use of words.

The article you cited says that E. coli was "confirmed" on September 7th.

In reality, preliminary tests showed one positive out of 14 on September 7th and the positive test was not "confirmed" until later.


Mike: What the Bush administration has done, across the board, is establish an atmosphere and culture of looking the other way with no accountability and no responsibility for actions. Incompetence is the norm. Attention to regulations is discouraged, new regulations deep sixed. Grover Norquist was at the wheel and he made headway in reducing the government as it operates to a size where it could be drowned in a bathtub. This is the worst President in memory, including that sonofabitch and crook, Nixon. all Presidents are not alike. This one is particularly egregious.

I sort of have to agree with both of you: there's no question that the Bush administration has made enforcement of regulations a low priority, or made nonenforcement a high priority, depending on how you look at it. On the other hand, in certain areas, not the least of which is food safety, enforcement of federal rules has never been actually good. Under any administration. Especially with regard to the beef industry, which has basically had a free ride for many years.

Well, its a moot point now. Topps filed for Chapter 7 dissolution about two hours ago CDT 3:33. 250? out of work now.

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 05 Oct 2007 #permalink

It's hardly a moot point for those who ate the hamburger. Let's see.....no recourse against a company that filed Chapter 7. How convenient. I wonder how much money was paid to execs during the July - Sept timeframe. Gosh, it must be more important for 250 (illegal aliens) to work than for someone to die from bloody diarhea (sp). Hey Randy, want a hamburger?
We live in a 3rd world country.

Sue, to even be in business they have to have insurance. They likely wont get a pass. I dont recall saying "illegals" in there.

It doesnt matter. I am sure that there were no beef recalls during Clintons Administration and that no one got sick or died.

Read this Sue. You might find that a lot of the beef, chicken and etc didnt originate here. In a lot of cases it was from the vaunted north of the border, to the EU....Hmmm.

Got to blame Bush for something this week.

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 06 Oct 2007 #permalink

Randy: Just an idle question. Who was a better President in your estimation: Bill Clinton or George W. (for my part I don't care for either of them but Bill holds all the cards on competence and accomplishment). But that's just me. What about you? Just curious. All things considered. Bottom line only, please.


Clinton got us there. Bush blew it.... Nil.

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 06 Oct 2007 #permalink

Apologies Sue. I forgot the link....


Cant IMO be laying ANYTHING regarding the USDA at the feet of Bush or Clinton. Its really controlled by the Aggie states and their perpetually elected Congressmen and Senators.

They are in their own little world and will be until the GM cows start to crow and the chickens make milk.

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 06 Oct 2007 #permalink

OBTW-Revere, since we are in a bash'em both. The average between the two with FSIS/USDA inspecting the stuff that we eat puts the Bush Administration ahead by about 10% for these recalls. I added all the Clinton years up and Bush's and found that GWB's administration has him by about that ten percent, to date anyway. So he is ahead of the game on that particular one.

I did note one thing that FSIS had posted up. In many of the Clinton years they were not able to recover from the shelves very much of the contaminated, diseased, or spoiled food. Some were cans of stuff that were compromised. Might want to look at that first response above because the stuff coming out of Denmark is contaminated with drugs! And we have a big, big problem with Hepatitis A out there.

Indeed, once again you have brought something to our attention and politics aside there is either too fast processing (JIT) and it gets in front of us before they can call it safe, or the processing plants seem to be pretty well infected with everything except Kryptonite. Its not a pretty picture and I dont know if more regulations are the answer. In looking at it just from incidents, our friends from China are also starting to come up on their radar.

Ground beef for some reason seems to be the big culprit and especially in the patties.

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 06 Oct 2007 #permalink