EUGENE, Ore. -- Eugene area fast food fans love their "burgers."
However, they don't "want to know what's in them," explains Eugene student Troy, who says he eats "four or five burgers a week."
Troy and others in the Eugene area like to eat lots of burgers because "they like the taste," explains Troy, "and they cost only a dollar or two."
Hamburger E.Coli outbreak revealed in book called ‘poisoned’
The virulent strain of E.coli O157:H7 can kill someone if the hamburger meat they eat is not “cooked to 155 degrees Fahrenheit to kill bacteria,” reports the Oregonian newspaper Sept.25 in the wake of recent food safety outbreaks.
“Today, after successive outbreaks involving everything from sprouts in Germany to strawberries in Oregon, E.coli is a household term. But nearly two decades ago, only a few scientists knew much about the virulent strain – E.coli 0157:H7 – that contaminated the Jack in the Box burgers in 1993,” stated a report in Portland’s Oregonian newspaper Sept. 25; while revealing other details about fast-food E.coli dangers in a new book by Jeff Benedict titled “Poisoned: The True Story of the Deadly E.Coli Outbreak That Changed the Way Americans Eat.” In turn, Portland area restaurants now state on their menus that “all hamburger meat is well cooked to 155 degrees.”
The Oregonian also noted that a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture announcement that six more strains of E.coli are now found in ground beef that is commonly sold in fast food and other American restaurants.
American like to believe their “burgers” are safe to eat
A Julia Child cook book from the 1950’s instructs those who prepare hamburger to sauté “until the beef loses its pink color,” however, to prevent E.coli, hamburger meat must be cooled to at 155 degrees to kill bacteria; thus, this was not the case back in 1993 when the federal standard was 140 degrees, stated a Sept. 25 report in the Portland newspaper the Oregonian.
Moreover, other major American newspapers have covered this issue of hamburger safety in fast food joints in depth ever since the Jack in the Box E.coli outbreak back in 1993.
“The first sign of trouble was a desperately ill girl in San Diego (this was Lauren Rudolph, who died in late December 1992, and in whose memory a pivotal 1996 California food safety act is named). Then dozens of children were sickened in Washington State, and the hamburger connection slowly became clear,” stated a recent report in the New York Times in response to Benedict’s new book “Poisoned: The True Story of the Deadly E.Coli Outbreak That Changed the Way Americans Eat.”
“Over a period of a few weeks, more than 700 cases scattered across four Western states; four children died gruesomely, with bleeding intestines and kidney failure. But Mr. Benedict, a lawyer turned journalist, pays relatively little attention to the story’s medical complexities; his focus is the gruesome and complicated legal tangle that ensued. Nowadays we are all too familiar with the practices of giant processing plants, but back in those innocent times it was all new and appalling — the poorly regulated slaughterhouses, the batching of meat for grinding, the wide distribution of product, which maximized the spread of any contaminant. Also involved were a large crowd of other men in suits, including the hapless chief executive of Jack in the Box and the company’s beleaguered food safety experts, all of whom managed in interviews to be simultaneously contrite and defensive, while paying intermittent lip service to thousands of employees financially dependent on the company’s staying afloat,” stated the New York Times report.
By the time it was all over, Marler had won $15.6 million for his client, setting a record for the largest personal-injury award in state history, “and wheels were set in motion to clean up the nation’s ground beef,” added the New York Times.
How a healthy 6-year-old girl dies from eating a Jack in the Box burger
“The E. coli had made a frontal attack on his intestines. Doctors feared that his underdeveloped immune system would succumb. Once the doctors finally left the room, Suzanne met Michael's parents. Young and blue-collar, the couple struggled to keep their emotions in check. My name is Diana. I'm Suzanne Kiner. Where did your child eat? Diana asked. Jack in the Box, Suzanne said. Diana's lips came together tightly as she nodded her head up and down. Michael had eaten there, too. Just like that, an instant bond had been formed between two mothers with dying children. Her daughter was screaming in agony, making it hard to focus on what had been cooked for dinner five days earlier. The epidemiologist said she was less interested in what Suzanne had cooked than in whether Brianne had eaten at any restaurants lately. That was an easier question. Jack in the Box, Suzanne told her. The epidemiologist asked if she was sure about that. Suzanne was sure. They hardly ever ate out. But twice in the past week and a half Brianne had eaten out. And both times Jack in the Box was the place,” writes Jeff Benedict in his book “Poisoned: The True Story of the Deadly E.Coli Outbreak That Changed the way Americans Eat.”
In turn, the Oregonian shared other sections of the book to drive the point home that eating “burgers” at fast food joints is sometimes dangerous.
“A health 6-year-old girl dies five days after staying home from school with a stomachache. Her doctors are mystified, her parents devastated. Soon clusters of kids across the West turn up in emergency rooms with similar symptoms: fever, cramping, bloody diarrhea. In the end, hundreds fall ill and three more die,” reported an Oregonian review of Benedict’s book.
At the same time, Benedict points out that Washington state “had raised the required cooking temperature for hamburger meat to 155 degrees to kill bacteria, but Jack in the Box was still (back in 1993) following the federal standard of 140 degrees, as were most fast-food outlets.”
Hamburger’s secret and deadly ingredients revealed by top chief
“An enormous percentage of burger meat in this country now contains scraps from the outer part of the animal that were once deemed sufficiently ‘safe’ only for pet food,” says the American chef Anthony Bourdain in his book “Medium Raw” that warns people about why there’s so much E.coli in hamburger today.
There was talk that the popular Bourdain – author of “Kitchen Confidential” and the popular television show “No Reservations” – would be at the famous Powell’s Books in Portland this past summer to sign his new book “Medium Raw:A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook.”
However, Bourdain had a change of plans but Portland fans got a first look at this “instant New York Times bestseller” that warns Americans to be wary of the “mystery meat” in the hamburger they eat. “An amalgam of meat from different slaughterhouses” is how the New York Times describes what’s for dinner tonight, writes Bourdain whose demanding that hamburger meat become safe to eat again so he can have his favorite burger “medium rare” again.
Tainted E.coli hamburger now a an American staple
“When I read in the New York Times that, as standard practice, when making their ‘American Chef’s Selection Angus Beef Patties,’ the food giant Cargill’s recipe for hamburger consisted of, among other things, ‘a mix of slaughterhouse trimmings and a mash-like product derived from scraps’ and that ‘the ingredients came from slaughterhouses in Nebraska, Texas and Uruguay, and from a South Dakota company that processes fatty trimmings and treats them with ammonia to kill bacteria,’ I was surprised,” writes Bourdain who surprised readers with his classic “Kitchen Confidential.”
In “Kitchen Confidential” – an international bestseller by a chef’s chef who worked in the restaurant industry for 30 plus years – Bourdain first alerted Americans to the idiosyncrasies and lurking perils of simply eating out in America. Bourdain exposed “Monday fish,” per why one should never eat fish at a restaurants on Monday’s, and other secrets about food from Bourdain’s subculture of chefs and cooks that know what they’re talking about when it comes to hamburger and other food safety.
He goes on to state that “Cargill” is the largest private company in America, earning $116 billion in revenue a year, with the bulk of Cargill products being hamburger.
“But they are very cautious when pressed on the specifics,” adds Bourdain. “When asked to describe the kind of scraps used in a particular brand of hamburger, they will invariably describe the trimmings as coming from premium cuts like sirloin, rib and tenderloin.
“The better question might be: Please tell me which of these scraps you would have been unable to use a few years ago – and exactly what do you have to do to them to make them what you would consider ‘safe.’”
Moreover, Bourdain argues that although America’s meat-industry points to only a small percentage of their hamburger products that end up having to be recalled; “we eat a lot of beef in this country. However small that percentage, that’s still a lot of hamburger.”
Hamburger is mostly “mystery meat” these days, says Bourdain and other top American chefs
Bourdain describes the hamburger you eat as “scraps that have to be whipped or extracted or winnowed out or rendered before they can put them into a patty mix. Mystery meat assembled from all over the world and put through one grinder – like one big, group grope in moist, body-temperature sheets – with strangers.”
In turn, Bourdain is demanding that something be done about all the tainted, E.coli, mystery meat that kids eat each and every day across America while playing Russian Roulette with their lives. In short, hamburger is a major health concern in America today, states this famous chef.
At the same time, Bourdain states his beliefs in “Medium Raw.”
-- “I believe that, as an American, I should be able to walk into any restaurant in America and order my hamburger – that most American of foods – medium fxxxing rare. I don’t believe my hamburger should have to come with a warning to cook it well done to kill off any potential contaminants or bacteria."
-- “I believe that I shouldn’t have to be advised to thoroughly clean and wash up immediately after preparing a hamburger."
-- “I believe I should be able to treat my hamburger like food, not like infectious fxxxing medical waste.
-- “I believe the worlds ‘meat’ and ‘treated with ammonia’ should never occur in the same paragraph – much less the same sentence.”
Overall, Bourdain said the hamburger scare in America is caused by “our insatiable lust for cheap meat.”