PHOENIX -- Maricopa County Environmental Services and the Maricopa County Department of Public Health are warning Phoenix residents about an unapproved food coloring agent that was added to raw pork and beef products.
The additive, Cemix, contains two forms of iron oxide and is used to color concrete.
MCES traced the additive to a local distributor and learned that other carnicerías and meat markets were also using the coloring agent.
“Our department’s inspectors are working on removing products with this coloring agent from retailers, and consumers should know that if they bought these products from any of the identified locations, they should stop using them,” said John Kolman, director of the Maricopa County Environmental Services department, in a news release. “We sent inspectors to survey more locations and try to isolate products with this unapproved food additive,” Kolman added.
So far chorizo and marinated meat containing Cemix have been found at Carnicería el Camino and two Phoenix Farms Supermercado locations.
Because MCES has not yet determined the extent of the distribution of Cemix, there could be meat products containing it at other stores.
Iron oxide, which is what is in Cemix, has health effects similar to those of iron supplements and prenatal vitamins, including abdominal discomfort, vomiting and diarrhea. While the effects can be uncomfortable, they generally are not dangerous.
“If it has been more than six hours and you feel fine, there’s very little risk of any health effects at all,” said Dr. Bob England, director of the Maricopa County Department of Public Health in a news release. “But [Cemix] wasn’t intended for human consumption, not manufactured in a manner that would be considered appropriate for food production, so it is only prudent to not eat this stuff.”
Wow, cement in meat??? What’s next, drywall paste in the butter? Why would someone do this?? Meat is God’s gift to man! In at least three (3) states, the state bird is a pig! I have a friend who has a shirt that says “If God did not want us to eat animals, why did he make them of meat?”
OK, let’s now get serious for a moment and talk “liability”. If you got sick as described, would you have a case against the company that added cement to the meat? Probably. Would it be worth anything for a few hours of nausea? No. Long terms effects? Possibly, but may be hard to prove.
What if your body had a violent reaction to the cement and you got seriously ill or worse? Would you have a case then? (I hope that no one aspires to this) The answer is, yes, most likely. As “cement” is not a natural additive of meat, and not a substance naturally found in meat, you likely would have a claim if serious injuries or damages resulted from the ingestion of such. You would have a claim for “product liability” against the people or entities that 1) added the cement, 2) distributed the product and 3) sold you the product. Under AZ law, each would be responsible for the portion of negligence deemed contributory to the end product.
This is a very odd story, one that I hope goes away quickly with little fanfare or problems to anyone.