"Food Sickens Millions as Company-Paid Checks Find It Safe"

Food companies are paying inspectors who find fatally contaminated food safe to eat. People are dying as a result. It's perfectly legal.

"William Beach loved cantaloupe - so much so that starting in June last year he ate it almost every day. By August, the 87-year-old retired tractor mechanic from Mustang, Okla., was complaining to his family that he was fatigued and feeling pain throughout his body.

On Sept. 1, 2011, Beach got out of bed in the middle of the night, dressed and walked into the living room. His wife, Monette, found him collapsed on the floor in the morning. At the hospital, blood poured from his mouth and nose.

He died that night, a victim of Listeria monocytogenes, a bacterium that can lead to a blood infection and damage to the brain and spinal cord, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its November issue.

Beach was one of 33 people killed by listeria that was later traced by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and state officials to contaminated cantaloupes from one Colorado farm. It was the deadliest outbreak of foodborne disease in the U.S. in almost 100 years.

'He died in terror and pain,' says his daughter Debbie Frederick.

About seven weeks after Beach started eating cantaloupes, a private, for-profit inspection company awarded a top safety rating to Jensen Farms, the Granada, Colorado, grower of his toxic fruit. The approval meant retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) and Wegmans Food Markets Inc. could sell Jensen melons."

Stephanie Armour, John Lippert, and Michael Smith report for Bloomberg Markets magazine October 11, 2012.


"FDA Food Inspections Fail To Catch Vast Majority Of Pathogens, 'Bloomberg Markets' Finds" (Huffington Post)

"As Food Recalls Mount, White House Still Lingering Over New Safety Rules" (McClatchy)

White House Warns Planned Spending Cuts Would Mean Fewer Food Safety Inspections (Bloomberg)

Source: Bloomberg Markets, 10/12/2012