On July 22, Cargill Beef, a unit of Cargill Meat Solutions Corporation, announced that it was conducting a recall of over 29,000 pounds of ground beef produced at the company's facility in Wyalusing, Pennsylvania. The beef may be contaminated with Salmonella Enteritidis, according to Cargill's press release.
The company says it is performing the recall as a result of an internal investigation and information provided by federal agencies.
"Food borne illnesses are unfortunate and we are sorry for anyone who became sick from eating ground beef we may have produced," said John Keating, president of Cargill Beef. "Ensuring our beef products are safe is our highest priority and an investigation is underway to determine the source of Salmonella in the animals we purchased for harvest and any actions necessary to prevent this from recurring."
If Cargill is serious about setting up a more secure system and keeping its customers safe from infectious bacteria, one thing it can do to put weight behind its words is to implement trackable labeling into its production and distribution operations.
While we often discuss the potential for such systems to provide efficiency increases for businesses, this incident should serve as a reminder of the fact that labeling solutions that allow for expanded product tracking and traceability actually have the potential to save lives in cases that involve contaminated food, defective medical equipment or other critical items. For any business in a related industry, establishing a system that allows comprehensive product tracking and traceability should be considered a top priority in terms of guaranteeing consumer safety and protecting the company's reputation.