Several local New York City TV stations as well as PBS-member New Jersey Network ran stories tonight about Topps Meats going out of business. After the Hudson Foods case of a decade ago, I am sure all of these hamburger patty makers have a doomesday scenario exit strategy in place. The reports featured video shot in front of the Topps plant in Elizabeth, NJ. It is a small plant. This firm, and probably many others, bought cuts of beef from slaughterhouses. It came with the e.coli.
The Hudson case included criminal indictments of officers of the firm. I expect this case to drag on for years.
While Topps was also in foodservice, the products listed on the recall notices were all retail packages. I saw their own branded packages in supermarkets all over this area. This is different from the spinach case and from e.coli-laced foods sold by restaurants. Unless the e.coli counts were outrageous, properly cooking these hamburgers should have killed the pathogens. So for all the people getting the e.coli lawyers involved, they are in for a rough ride about if they know how to cook raw food.
The gov’t folks pulled off a coup in the e.coli spinach case by using DNA testing to locate the farm from where the tainted spinach came from. One industry newsletter I saw already said the government is tracing where Topps bought their beef from to see which slughterhouse(s) shipped tainted beef. Maybe they do the same here; Topps did not slaughter beef. With data such as this, it should make safer the frozen hamburger patty industry.