Why Is a Burger Still Unsafe?
(Photo: Flickr/Adam Kuban)

(Photo: Flickr/Adam Kuban)

Stephanie Smith went to her mom’s house for dinner, ate a hamburger, and ended up in convulsions, in a coma, paralyzed.

American food safety has come back as a big issue in public health. Leafy greens, eggs, sprouts, berries, ice cream — they can all get you.

But the story of the grindings and goo from around the country and the world that went into Stephanie Smith’s nicely-packaged hamburger is a wake-up call.

This hour, On Point: We’ll talk with the reporter who tracked it down, and look at the issue of food safety — and the problem with hamburger.

You can join the conversation. Tell us what you think — here on this page, on Twitter, and on Facebook.


Joining us from New York is Michael Moss, investigative reporter for The New York Times. His article tracking how one woman was paralyzed by E. coli in a hamburger, and the flaws in beef inspection her story reveals, ran on the front page of last Sunday’s paper.

Update: In a followup post on the On Point blog, Moss addresses the apparent surge of hamburger E. coli outbreaks since 2007 and what experts say might be the cause.

Joining us from St. Paul, Minn., is Kirk Smith, supervisor of the Minnesota Department of Health’s Foodborne Illness Unit.

And from Issaquah, Wash., we’re joined by Craig Wilson, assistant vice president for food safety and quality assurance for Costco, one of the few big producers that tests beef “trimmings” for E. coli before they are ground into hamburger meat.

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