Cargill Settles with Stephanie Smith


Remember the story I posted about Stephanie Smith, the young woman who became sick from E. coli after simply eating a hamburger?

The Huffington Post reports that she has reached a settlement with Cargill. Although the terms of the settlement are confidential, Cargill will provide for Smith’s care throughout her life. The 23-year old former dance instructor was left paralyzed, with cognitive problems and kidney damage, after an E. coli infection led to kidney failure, causing seizures. She was was kept in a medically induced coma for three months.

The story, which has been followed by The New York Times, prompted Congress to demand better enforcement of food safety laws. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has promised to step up efforts to fight E. coli contamination. And Cargill has invested more than $1 billion in meat science research and new food safety technologies to eliminate E. coli and other sources of food-borne illnesses.

This is great news for Stephanie–that she’s getting the care she deserves after such a tragic incident. And, it’s got the attention of the government as well as the company that’s responsible. But is this just a Band-aid approach?

To me, a major root cause of meat contamination is feedlot meat. But moving away from factory farming might put Cargill out of business. And I guess the government doesn’t want that to happen, does it? Instead, the government has beefed up their education techniques toward keeping food safe, especially ground beef.

So many contamination issues would be resolved if people purchased grassfed meat from their local farmer. Learn more about the the benefits of grassfed meat from this primer. It could be a matter of life or death.

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