Gotta go when ya gotta go: Pissed-off employee pissed on 50K pounds of food

I take drugs to help my kidneys, and they work great: so great that I’m often peeing at the toilet or the backyard.

Smithfield Foods has reportedly disposed of 50,000 pounds of product after an employee allegedly relieved himself while working on the production line.

The company says the male employee has since been suspended pending an investigation.

Surveillance video on the incident, which happened over the weekend, was posted online by The worker, who is dressed in a hair cap, face mask, white jacket and gloves, can be seen moving product along the conveyer belt. He then pauses to take off his gloves, appears to unzip his pants and leans forward as he seemingly relieves himself. He then puts his gloves back on and returns to work a few seconds later.

The company released a statement on the matter, saying they are investigating the “isolated incident” at the processing facility in Smithfield, Virginia.

Gettin’ shiggy wit it: Increase of shigella-linked illnesses in St. Louis

STLtoday reports tonight that there appears to be an Shigella outbreak going on linked to child care centers in St. Louis. Shigellosis is characterized by fever, cramps and may result in bloody diarrhea, but most recover within a week without treatment.

There have been 67 cases of shigellosis from July 1 through Monday, compared to nine cases for all of 2008, according to the St. Louis City Department of Health.

Health officials said four day care centers and one school clustered in south St. Louis city reported illnesses. Officials did not offer other specifics except to say that children ages 4 and younger are most commonly infected.

City health officials sent the shigellosis alert to day cares and schools, where the shigella bacteria is typically spread when people don’t wash their hands properly after using the bathroom or changing diapers. It can also be spread through contact with food. Shigella bacteria can remain in feces for several weeks.


Swine flu outbreak affecting pork industry

The Associated Press reported yesterday in USA Today that Mexican authorities believe as many as 149 people have died from the current outbreak of swine flu.

Also in USA Today, Matt Krantz reported that,

“Shares of pork producers Smithfield Foods (SFD), Tyson Foods (TSN) and Bob Evans Farms (BOBE) dropped 12.4%, 8.9% and 6.4% respectively as investors wondered if consumers might cut back on pork consumption due to confusion about how the virus spreads.”

Currently, there is no evidence that swine in the US or Canada are infected. Even if some infected hogs surface, the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have stated that well-cooked pork cannot transmit swine flu. However, that doesn’t stop consumers from being concerned.

So, what are pork producers and processors doing to market the safety of their products? This is a great opportunity to show off their antemortem (live hog) and postmortem (hog carcass) disease monitoring programs.

Smithfield Foods, Inc. seized the moment and told investors in a statement Sunday that, “it has found no clinical signs or symptoms of the presence of swine influenza in the company’s swine herd or its employees at its joint ventures in Mexico,” and, “its joint ventures in Mexico routinely administer influenza virus vaccination to their swine herds and conduct monthly tests for the presence of swine influenza.”

Tyson Foods, which does not operate any pork processing facilities in the affected areas, only referred to the CDC statement that the flu is not affecting pigs, and stated, “Our pork products are safe.” I doubt that brings much comfort to confused consumers who are actively trying to protect themselves. Show us some real evidence that your products are safe.

I haven’t seen anything from Bob Evans Farms. Maybe they don’t even know there’s an outbreak…

Consumers demonstrate their vote of confidence in products each time they make a purchase. Producers that speak up about risks and how they’re being managed are likely to receive more votes than those that don’t.