Defective Food Items Comments Off
Chicken breasts, wings and legs, a staple of American diets, could become safer to eat thanks to new standards proposed by the Agriculture Department that aim to reduce rates of salmonella and campylobacter contamination.
According to an Associated Press news report, the standards would not be mandatory, but voluntary.
Officials say these standards are designed to put pressure on companies to take the necessary steps to reduce contamination and incidents of food poisoning and major outbreaks.
Reduction of Salmonella Rates
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) says the proposed standards could reduce food-borne illnesses caused by raw poultry by about a quarter or 50,000 illnesses a year. Among the measures companies could take to reduce the rates of salmonella and campylobacter are better screening of flocks and better sanitation.
The proposal would ask poultry producers to reduce the rates of salmonella in raw chicken parts from about 24 percent now to less than 16 percent, and campylobacter rates in raw chicken parts from an estimated 22 percent to 8 percent. Salmonella rates would also be reduced in ground chicken and turkey.
Foster Farms Outbreak
These standards come after a lengthy outbreak of salmonella illnesses linked to California chicken company Foster Farms, which sickened more than 600 people between March 2013 and July 2014.
In 2013, USDA inspectors at Foster Farms facilities had documented fecal material on carcasses along with poor sanitation.
Federal food safety officials said the Foster Farms salmonella Heidelberg outbreak spurred these proposed regulations. That outbreak that lasted over 16 months, sickened 634 people in 29 states and Puerto Rico.
In that outbreak, scientists identified seven strains of the bacteria including some that were resistant to antibiotics used to treat humans for illnesses other than salmonella.
Safety Measures Should Be Mandatory
As California personal injury lawyers who represent victims of food poisoning, we sincerely believe that these proposed regulations should be mandatory for all producers and processors of poultry in the United States.
Salmonella and campylobacter illnesses can result in serious and violent illnesses causing victims to be hospitalized. Some severe illnesses could even result in fatalities.
Around 1 million Americans get sick from salmonella each year and almost 20 percent of those illnesses are linked to poultry.
It’s not sufficient for the government to encourage food producers to take these safety measures. They must become enforceable laws.