“The Burger That Shattered Her Life” Questions

“The Burger That Shattered Her Life” Questions

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&quotTheBurger That Shattered Her Life”Questions

Question1 (a)

Themain cause of Miss Smith’s illness was eating a hamburger that wascontaminated with a virulent strain of E. coli bacteria. Theinfection from this strain of E. coli led to an extreme reaction inMiss Smith’s body. She experienced stomach aches and cramping whichlater deteriorated to bloody diarrhea. Moreover, the infection,impaired her kidney functions and seizures, which had to be stoppedby putting her into a coma for nine weeks. In the end, she becameparalyzed halfway (Michael, na).

Question1 (b)

Groundbeef is potentially riskier than other parts of beef because itincludes a mixture of various grades of meat from different suppliersand slaughterhouses. Such as combination of meat products fromdifferent sources increases the risk of contamination with E. coli.As in the case of Miss Smith’s burger, the ground beef was tracedto three sources in Nebraska, Texas, and Uruguay. Such sources shouldtheir own testing, which could be flawed unlike meat from one source.The lack of testing of supplies on purchase due to unwrittenagreements where the suppliers refuse to supply companies that testfor E. coli increases the risk of contamination of ground meat(Michael, na). The refusal of suppliers to have their meat tested bycompanies result from fear of discovery of the E. coli leading torecall of all their products.

Inaddition, ground meat is made from low-grade ingredients as opposedparts of beef which are made from pure steak. Therefore, the groundmeat is more likely to be cut from areas that have come into contactwith feces that harbor the bacteria leading to a higher risk ofcontamination. Furthermore, the lack of proper testing mechanismsfrom the various slaughterhouses increases the risk of ground meatbeing contaminated. For instance, many of the slaughterhouses fromMiss Smith’s hamburger ingredients insisted on their supplies beingcontamination free despite evidence of E. coli during routine checks.


Theblame for the Miss Smith’s illness resulting from the contaminationof a hamburger by E. coli should fall on Cargill despite their claimsthat it was the fault of their suppliers. This is because it isCargill’s responsibility to provide safe food for its customers.The customers pay Cargill for the hamburgers and not its suppliers.Therefore, Cargill has a responsibility to provide high quality foodsthat do not affect the health of its customers negatively. As aresult, the company should take full responsibility of theconsequences of their products the same way it enjoys the reducedcosts of production and higher profits by buying from varioussuppliers.

Toprotect its customers from harmful products, Cargill should conducttheir own tests for E. coli and other products. It should not dependentirely on the word of its suppliers that they have tested.Furthermore, despite Cargill relying on its suppliers to test theproducts, the company did not follow them up to determine if theytested as expected. As Craig Wilson, Costco`s food safety director,said that the company should not rely on its suppliers alone butshould check as well. Moreover, Cargill’s processing actions couldhave been the cause of the contamination, considering the secrecy thecompany holds about its grinding operations by withholding records(Michael, na).

Cargillshould also be blamed because it is the one that mixed up theingredients from the different suppliers to form the hamburger. Theprocessing actions of Cargill, therefore, made it difficult toidentify the culprit in the supply of contaminated ingredients. Ifthe purchased supplies were used to make foods independently withoutcombining, it would be easier to identify the supplier. Since thecompany’s actions made it difficult to get the real supplier, itshould therefore, pay the price for the any harm caused by suchproducts.


Iam very disgusted with Cargill Company and its suppliers of meatproducts. The reason for my disappointment in the company is becauseof its careless in handling food despite the adverse effects of foodpoisoning. Furthermore, the company refuses to take responsibility ofthe effects caused by its products, blaming it on the supplierknowing that it is difficult to trace the original supplier. Thecompany should be held accountable for Smith’s health adversaries.Despite paying for her treatment, the company should also compensateher for ruining her life.

Iam also disappointed by the public health department owing to theircomplacency in dealing with food companies. There should be strictregulations governing the way food stored, prepared, and served. Inaddition, thorough testing should be done at every stage of thedistribution chain to avoid contamination despite the expected risein costs from such tests. Spot checks should also be conducted by thedepartment routinely not only during an outbreak. Stern actionsshould be taken against companies that are found not following theset guidelines, including withdrawing of operating licenses toclosure of the whole firm until it complies with the regulations.Finally, people should be educated on proper food preparation andhandling as well as how to prevent such infections.


Michael,Moss, and reporting. Gabe Johnson contributed. &quotThe Burger ThatShattered Her Life.&quot&nbspNewYork Times&nbsp04Oct. 2009:1. RegionalBusiness News.Web. 23 Sept. 2015.