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Salmonella in turkey

(article, Culinate staff)

So you thought E. coli was your biggest food-contamination worry? Nah — as Marion Nestle recently noted in an indictment of the Cargill turkey scandal, salmonella is sneakier. 

Why? Because, as Nestle writes, "The USDA believes it does not have the authority to order recalls for any contaminant except E. coli O157:H7. It has no authority to recall meat contaminated with Salmonella or other toxic forms of E. coli." And it gets worse:

bq. What \[the meat industry seems\] to be saying is that meat always has bacteria on it. And just because these particular bacteria can kill people doesn’t mean the industry is responsible if anyone gets sick. But shouldn’t the industry be doing a better job? . . . I keep asking: How much worse does it have to get before Congress does something about ensuring safe food? Cargill’s inability to protect the public from unsafe meat is reason alone to create a single food safety system that unites the functions of USDA and FDA. If Congress isn’t ready to take that step, it could at least give USDA the power to act and the FDA the funding it needs to do its job.

For more on the 36-million-pound recall, check out Mark Bittman's brief post and links.