Conagra Brands, Inc., makers of fine cuisine for the discerning gourmand under the label Chef Boyardee, is the latest company to fall victim to its supply chain. Over 700,000 pounds of “meatball products” have been flagged for recall from store shelves and homes, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. The most interesting aspects of this story are not the quantities or the names, but the larger, darker, trends at play when it comes to our federal regulators and the establishment media.
In that rare space where the news overlaps with your day-to-day life, consumer recalls make fairly regular appearances. Especially when it comes to food, a recall is the last thing anyone wants to see. Spotting a familiar brand you may have eaten in the past day is enough on its own to start your stomach churning. When many people saw that their beloved maker of nutritionally questionable cans of salt had done something worthy of recall, few articles covering the matter delved into the details. What disgusting disease are we at risk of today?
As it turns out – there is nothing to fear if you are not allergic to milk. A quick call directly to the USDA clarified that the only reason for the recall was that some of the breadcrumbs used to make the product may have contained milk. Since milk is an allergen, and since the manufacturer did not mark the cans with the “CONTAINS: MILK” warning, the cans were recalled. The most severe cases of a milk allergy can lead to anaphylaxis, which can cause death.
While certainly no laughing matter, does this event warrant the level of media coverage that is currently out there? Or could it be that the elites behind the scenes are looking to cast regulatory agencies as saviors protecting the little guy – a bloc that should remain immune from any federal downsizing or deregulation!
Does it seem like lately there have been more food recalls than normal? Last year at this time, the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service had issued just 47 recalls. So far, this year they are up to 70. Is this just the ebb and flow of bad luck and random timing? Or is it possible that federal regulators are desperately trying to prove their worth under the new scrutiny of a president looking to cut both the federal workforce and reduce regulations?
Or perhaps we are getting ahead of ourselves in terms of meatball conspiracies and such. It may be the real lesson here is the interconnected nature of the supply chain and the massive corporations in play. Conagra is but one of many who has fallen victim to the breadcrumbs-accidentally-made-with-milk issue. Indeed, at least ten different manufacturers, including poultry behemoth Tyson, have voluntarily recalled food connected to this fiasco. The Food Institute estimates that when all is said and done, companies will mark nearly 4 million pounds of food as contaminated. Our economy is increasingly interconnected, and the butterfly effect can ripple out in ways no one would have ever thought possible.
Dig to the bottom of the rabbit hole, and the true story will often surprise you.