Skeptophilia (skep-to-fil-i-a) (n.) - the love of logical thought, skepticism, and thinking critically. Being an exploration of the applications of skeptical thinking to the world at large, with periodic excursions into linguistics, music, politics, cryptozoology, and why people keep seeing the face of Jesus on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Tuna meltdown

So we're starting the week with another hoax.

I probably wouldn't even bother to address this one if I hadn't already seen it four times.  It's an article from the site News 4 with the scary title, "Massive Bumble Bee Recall After 2 Employees Admit Cooking a Man and Mixing Him With a Batch of Tuna."

[image courtesy of artist Duane Raver Jr. and the Wikimedia Commons]

If you click the link -- and I don't for a moment suggest you should, because I don't want to be responsible for giving News 4 any more hits on their hit tracker -- you will notice something rather strange; although the headline starts with the words "Massive Bumble Bee Recall," the article mentions nothing about a recall.  Nada.  It goes into a rather horrifying story of one José Melena, who was performing maintenance inside a 35-foot-long industrial oven when two coworkers dumped 12,000 pounds of tuna into it and turned it on.  It wasn't until the oven was opened two hours later that the accident was discovered and Melena's body found.

Awful.  Nauseating, even.  The problem is that despite what the headline says, Melena's death and the recall have absolutely nothing to do with one another, and in fact, happened four years apart.  Not only that, Melena was not deliberately cooked and then "mixed with a batch of tuna."

Melena's death happened in October of 2012, and resulted in the California plant's Operational Director and its Safety Manager being charged with violating Occupational Safety & Health Administration rules that caused a death.  Bumble Bee Foods was fined $1.5 million.  The tuna, needless to say, was all destroyed.

The recall, on the other hand, happened in March of 2016, and sounds like it was a pretty minor incident.  Here's the recall notice:
Bumble Bee Foods, LLC announced today that it is voluntarily recalling 3 specific UPC codes of canned Chunk Light tuna due to process deviations that occurred in a co-pack facility not owned or operated by Bumble Bee.  These deviations were part of the commercial sterilization process and could result in contamination by spoilage organisms or pathogens, which could lead to life-threatening illness if consumed.  It is important to note that there have been no reports of illness associated with these products to date.  No other production codes or products are affected by this recall.
So as you can see, the two are completely separate events.  If you're concerned about having bought one of the cans of recalled tuna, the link I posted above has a list of the can codes affected.

Which took me all of five minutes of research to verify.  Too much, apparently, for some people, because the article seems to be causing widespread meltdown.  Here are some of the comments I've seen posted :
  • EWWWWWWW I'm never eating tuna again
  • I wonder what else is in canned food that we never find out about?
  • This kind of thing probably goes unreported all the time -- surprised this one got out
  • I'm throwing out every can of tuna in my kitchen.
  • Why were those two not charged with murder?  Our legal system fucking sucks.
  • Corporate America will do anything to turn a buck, why did they have to be forced to do a recall, and why am I only now hearing about this?  Nothing in the MSM, of course.
Yes, well, the reason there's nothing in the MSM (mainstream media) is that the story is being completely misreported.  The original incident definitely made the news -- I remember seeing it when it happened -- but the blending of the story with the recall notice is a pure falsehood.

So once again we're back at "check your damn sources before you post something."  If you're a worry-wart, and still have uneaten Bumble Bee tuna from March, give a glance at the can codes if you like.  But don't worry that there's bits of human mixed into it.

That's soylent green, not tuna.

No comments:

Post a Comment