January 13th, 2014
06:00 AM ET
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Tyson Foods has announced a recall of nearly 34,000 pounds of chicken on fears of salmonella contamination.

The United State Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service was notified of a Salmonella Heidelberg cluster of illnesses on December 12, 2013. Together with the Tennessee Department of Health, the FSIS discovered a link between mechanically separated chicken products from Tyson Foods, and an outbreak of illness in a Tennessee correctional facility. Seven people were sickened, and of those cases, two were hospitalized.
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December 19th, 2013
11:30 AM ET
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Salmonellosis is a nasty illness. People infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, a fever and abdominal cramps that usually last for four to seven days.

The dangerous bacteria is found in the food we eat, usually chicken, beef or eggs that have been contaminated with animal feces. And a new report from Pew Charitable Trusts says the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) isn't doing enough to keep our food Salmonella-free.

"When more than 500 people get sick from two outbreaks associated with chicken that meets federal safety standards, it is clear that those standards are not effectively protecting public health," Sandra Eskin, director of Pew's food safety project, said in a statement.

Every year, approximately 42,000 cases of salmonellosis are reported in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but the actual number of infections may be much higher. The majority of outbreaks over the last two decades have been linked to live poultry.
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Filed under: Food Safety • Health News • News • Salmonella • Tainted Food


December 4th, 2013
12:15 PM ET
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Salmonella causes an estimated 1.3 million illnesses each year in the United States. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service hopes to tackle that toll with the help of a new "Salmonella Action Plan."

The ten-point strategy, announced Wednesday, outlines the steps the agency will take to address issues in meat and poultry production, which it considers "the most pressing problem it faces."
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Filed under: Food Safety • Health News • Salmonella • Tainted Food


Don't bug out, but there's 'filth' in your spices
November 1st, 2013
10:30 AM ET
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You may inadvertently be getting more than you bargained for when you put paprika in your chicken paprikash.

A new Food and Drug Administration report, "Pathogens and Filth in Spices," says that 12% of U.S. spice imports are contaminated with bug parts, rodent hairs and other ingredients more appropriate to a witches' brew than your mother's favorite recipe.

The FDA study also found that 7% of spice imports the inspectors examined were contaminated with salmonella. Salmonella are toxic bacteria that can trigger diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps.
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Food safety hampered by shutdown
October 13th, 2013
12:15 PM ET
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Caroline Smith DeWaal is food safety director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nonprofit watchdog and consumer advocacy group.

This week, a mother called us about her child hospitalized with a Salmonella poisoning from his day care's chicken lunch. The child's condition was tenuous, with a blood infection, and treatment was especially challenging as the bacteria was antibiotic resistant.

The mom turned to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group, for information and help because key government's public health agencies and websites are shut down. Does this have an impact on food safety? You betcha!
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October 9th, 2013
06:00 PM ET
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The U.S. Department of Agriculture demanded that Foster Farms, the California company implicated in the Salmonella Heidelberg outbreak that has sickened over 250 people, respond by Thursday with how the company will fix the problem. The company has complied and submitted a plan to the agency.

In a letter obtained by CNN, a USDA official told the company since the beginning of the year “your establishment has had multiple regulatory non-compliances issued for insanitary conditions.”
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October 7th, 2013
11:30 PM ET
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A Salmonella outbreak linked to a California poultry producer has sickened approximately 278 people in 18 states, health officials say. As of Tuesday morning, no recall had been issued.

Raw chicken products from Foster Farms plants have been identified as the likely source of this outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg.
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September 10th, 2013
02:30 AM ET
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Home cooks have been all a-cluck over recent guidance not to wash raw chicken before it's prepared and cooked. While it may seem counterintuitive, food safety resources like the United States Department of Agriculture's "Ask Karen" website advise:

"Washing poultry before cooking it is not recommended. Bacteria in raw meat and poultry juices can be spread to other foods, utensils, and surfaces. We call this cross-contamination.

Some consumers think they are removing bacteria and making their meat or poultry safe. However, some of the bacteria are so tightly attached that you could not remove them no matter how many times you washed. But there are other types of bacteria that can be easily washed off and splashed on the surfaces of your kitchen. Failure to clean these contaminated areas can lead to foodborne illness. Cooking (baking, broiling, boiling, and grilling) to the right temperature kills the bacteria, so washing food is not necessary."

The same goes for beef, pork, lamb and veal. Eggs, too, can incur an uptick in potential contamination, because according to the USDA, "the wash water can be 'sucked' into the egg through the pores in the shell."

So why did we all start bathing our birds in the first place? Probably because Julia Child, James Beard, Bettie Crocker, Fannie Farmer, Margaret Mitchell and the "Joy of Cooking" told us - and our parents and grandparents - to.
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Don't get sick from your picnic
July 18th, 2013
01:00 PM ET
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Outdoor eating is one of the greatest joys of summertime. Unfortunately, the escalated temperatures and lack of access to clean water can significantly bump up picnickers' chances of contracting a foodborne illness like salmonella, campylobacter or listeria.

About 48 million people contract some form of food poisoning each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, so don't spoil your summer! Just take these four simple steps to stay safe and well-fed all season long.
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Filed under: Campylobacter • Food Safety • Grilling • Listeria • Picnic • Salmonella • Tainted Food


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