The senate passed the Food Safety Act back in 2010.

It was the most sweeping legislation ever to protect consumers from contaminated food.

While it’s popular to dismiss government intervention as “bad” these days, it’s important to remember that government often serves as a protective force for its citizens.

Here are the recalls that led to that historic move to protect our health.

  1. Eggs. Over 380 million eggs were recalled from California, Illinois, Missouri, Colorado, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Iowa because of possible salmonella contamination in 2010.
  2. Peanut Butter. Back in 2009, over 370 health problems were reported coming from peanut butter traced to ConAgra’s Sylvester, Georgia plant. Brands included Peter Pan, Great Value Peanut Butter, King Nut as well as generics.
  3. Spinach. In 2007, bagged spinach was recalled by California grower Metz Fresh. It was the third fresh spinach recall of the year. It led to 8100 cases of tainted spinach being recalled and the market has yet to fully recover.
  4. Lettuce. It was back in 2006 that the largest recall of fresh green leaf lettuce took place. The contamination came from the pipes that watered the vegetable.
  5. Beef. In 2008 the USDA ordered the recall of 143 million pounds of beef from a California meat company. The recall covered the entire beef output for one company – Wesland Meat – for two years. The USDA found that the company failed to keep sick cattle from entering the food supply. There was a video showing employees of Westland partner Hallmark Meat Packing committing “egregious violations” of federal animal care regulations. Hallmark allowed cattle determined by veterinarians to proceed to slaughter and their meat to be processed for eventual sale.

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