Restaurants, unlike bistros, are usually held at a higher standard. So this means that they can’t really mess up with the operation at all. This is food safety after all. In fact, just watching one episode from Gordon Ramsay’s show where he visits underperforming restaurants or bakeries to help them sell better and fix problem areas in the kitchen shows how much Ramsay flips out when he sees wrongly stored meats or rats having free roam of the kitchen floor.
Cleanliness should be tantamount to good taste, but sometimes, that’s not always the case.
In the long history of food fraud, meat is often the easiest to corrupt. Different types of news about food fraud have gone ever since people realized there are those who want to have a conscious involvement in how their food is made, and those who do not care at all just as long as it’s good food.
While the latter may even pass as humbly and somewhat sadly heroic, the truth is that tainted meat can not only cost lives or bring customers diseases, they can also cause entire chains to be shut down or disgraced for even entertaining the prospect of serving tainted meat.
According to a report by AdAge, a global media brand publishing analysis, news, and data on marketing and media, Burger King first tried to deal with the matter by sorting out fact over fiction. The fact being that Silvercrest Foods, the Irish beef processor that Burger King had used, did have traces of horsemeat in their meat supply, ut that these actually did not reach Burger King stores.
In a statement, Burger King further clarified: “Our independent DNA test results on product taken from Burger King restaurants were negative for any equine DNA. However, four samples recently taken from the Silvercrest plant have shown the presence of very small trace levels of equine DNA. This product was never sold to our restaurants.”
Eventually, Burger King cut their losses and announced that, after the incident, and after further investigation, it was found that the tainted meat came from an unapproved Poland supplier which Silvercrest worked with. In the process, Silvercrest had apparently promised to Burger King that they would be sending over only “100% British and Irish beef patties.”
When they sent tainted meat instead, Burger King deemed it a “violation” of their restaurant’s specifications which led them to subsequently terminate their relationship with the supplier.
But what about the rest of us who still have to buy meat at stores and groceries? According to a 2009 article by Diet To Go, an online service that offers news on diet plans and various other diet and health-related news, it’s actually restaurants that are more affected by the tainted meat crises they weather year after year.
Most of the recalled beefs, for instance, from Oklahoma’s National Steak and Poultry are cuts that are expressly handed over to restaurants. The recall urged for 248,000 million pounds of beef to be recalled after 21 people across 16 states had already been sickened by “potentially deadly E. Coli bacteria” in the tainted cuts.
Fast forward to now, the USDA has currently pulled some raw beef and pork products for possible product contamination. According to the United States Department of Agriculture official website, there are 712 pounds of raw beef and pork that came in that the USDA is putting under investigation.
These include mostly frozen cuts and, although they have not seriously endangered the lives of any of those who had thus far consumed it, the USDA still suggests contacting a healthcare provider right away in case something bad happens to those who still eat it.
Since most restaurants offer meat meals as one of their major food groups of choice, having the know-how for your meat is always a plus. CNN Health, a segment discussing the latest health news and explores articles on fitness, diet, nutrition, parenting, relationships, medicine, dieases and healthy living, reports that a group of researchers actually found an alarmingly high amount of dangerous bacteria in a lot of our conventional non-organic beef.
The researchers told CNN that there had been 82% with more than one type of bacteria, while some 58% of sustainable beef also had quite a bit of bacteria.
CNN writes: ‘Among the conventional samples, 19% and 55% were contaminated with these bacteria, respectively, whereas 18% and 27% of the sustainable samples were.’
The researchers found that the said bacteria was Clostridium perfringens and Staphylococcus aureus, two bacteria strands that, when they enter the body, cause food poisoning symptoms such as diarrhea, cramps, among many others.
According to Urvashi Rangan, the executive director of the Food Safety and Sustainability Center at Consumer Reports, “Ground beef, like all meats, leads to a serious number of foodborne illnesses each year. We think consumers should buy better beef (such as sustainable labels) and handle it more safely.”
This also applies to restaurants new and old. After all, it’s always good for business to be twice as careful with your food source, especially since the blowback of just potentially or full-on poisoning a customer by accident will easily drag your business under.V