The Washington Post Magazine investigates the failure of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to prevent 21 deaths caused by contaminated meat from Sara Lee Corp. The story reveals that the contamination occurred because of moisture problems in the cooling section of "the giant Bil Mar Foods meatpacking plant in western Michigan." While deaths were tolling, the USDA was leery to issue a press release for fear not to face the legal implications of wrongly accusing the meatproducer. Even though Bil Mar quietly recalled the deadly products from the market, people were still eating meat kept in refrigerators or supermarkets and contaminated with the dangerous Listeria bacteria, the magazine reports. A major finding is that government lacks regulatory power to recall unsafe foods, as well as penalties system for repeated violations in the food industry.
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