AN INEDIBLE BEEF STEW

THE LARGEST RECALL OF CONTAMINATED HAMBURGER MEAT RAISES TROUBLING QUESTIONS ABOUT FOOD SAFETY

On July 3, while camping with her family in New Mexico, 12-year-old Nicole Schlegelmilch ate a bad burger. Six days later she was in an emergency room back home in Denver, cramping, dehydrated and passing blood. By July 11, as she began to recover, doctors still wondered just what had hit her.

Last week, as a meat-loving nation watched the largest beef recall in history, everyone knew the culprit: a lethal strain of the bacterium Escherichia coli. The bug causes 20,000 infections a year in the U.S., most because of undercooked beef. The typical result is excruciating gastrointestinal distress. But for...

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