Beef industry gets a closer look as story of paralyzed woman hits the press

Food safety expert Dr. Jeffrey Bender says mildly, "ground beef is not a completely safe product." The understatement is not lost on The New York Times, whose hugely popular, endlessly retweeted and emailed article on ground beef safety Sunday points out the "restrained" enforcement of safety procedures by the USDA.

The article tells the story of children's dance instructor Stephanie Smith, who was paralyzed after eating tainted beef at a Sunday dinner with her family in September 2007. Smith, 22, was taken to the hospital five days after the family dinner, "in excruciating pain" that a doctor described as worse than childbirth. (Smith wouldn't know; she hadn't yet started a family of her own.)