On May 12, PBS’ FRONTLINE aired an episode entitled “The Trouble With Chicken,” which investigated the spread of dangerous pathogens in meat, focusing in on the Salmonella Heidelberg outbreak linked to Foster Farms.
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Much discussion and debate followed the airing, including the fact that Salmonella (among the most frequent causes of foodborne illness) is not officially considered an adulterant and how regulators are failing to own up and prevent the spread of this pathogen.
As the report mentions, this stems back to a 1974 court case, American Public Health Association v. Butz, in which it was determined that the responsibility for meat safety should go to those doing the cooking, namely “housewives.”
“American housewives and cooks normally are not ignorant or stupid and their methods of preparing and cooking of food do not ordinarily result in salmonellosis,” the ruling read. There have since been attempts to have this antiquated way of thinking changed. Most notable was CSPI’s request in 2011 to have antibiotic-resistant Salmonella declared as an adulterant.
The USDA’s FSIS denied the petition three years later.
However, after the airing of the FRONTLINE investigation, more efforts to help keep Americans safe from contaminated products are being initiated. Currently, the USDA will only issue a recall if a meat, poultry, or egg product is considered “adulterated.”| | | Next → | Single Page
About Marian Zboraj
Marian Zboraj is the Professional Editor of Food Quality & Safety. She has worked on the publication since late 2012, working from the John Wiley & Sons corporate headquarters in Hoboken, N.J. Marian has extensive editorial experience, holding editorial positions in the B2B publishing industry since 2001 and working on a variety of topics such as nutracueticals, eyecare, and industrial manufacturing. She resides in northern New Jersey. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.