USDA: Salmonella is an adulterant (a first step)
For years, food safety advocates have been petitioning USDA to declare Salmonella in poultry as an adulterant. Chicken that is adulterated is not allowed to be sold.
This, of course, would be a problem because supermarket chicken can easily be contaminated with Salmonella, which is why USDA wants you to take responsibility for keeping your kitchen safe by handling and cooking it properly.
USDA has now addressed this problem—but only in breaded, stuffed raw chicken products.
Since 1998, breaded and stuffed raw chicken products have been associated with up to 14 outbreaks and approximately 200 illnesses. Products in this category are found in the freezer section and include some chicken cordon bleu or chicken Kiev products. These products appear cooked, but they are heat-treated only to set the batter or breading and the product contains raw poultry. Continual efforts to improve the product labeling have not been effective at reducing consumer illnesses.
OK. It’s a step.
Q. Why hasn’t the USDA acted sooner? Why isn’t it doing more?
A. Because the chicken industry does not want to have to be responsible for keeping chicken safe. It would rather leave that responsibility to you.
You don’t believe me? Here is the chicken industry’s response to the USDA’s action, as reported in Food Safety News: National Chicken Council objects to USDA plan to name Salmonella as adulterant in some chicken products
USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) decision to declare Salmonella as an adulterant in breaded and stuffed raw chicken products is not welcomed by the regulated industry. “NCC (National Chicken Council) is concerned about the precedent set by this abrupt shift in longstanding policy, made without supporting data, for a product category that has only been associated with one outbreak since 2015. It has the potential to shutter processing plants, cost jobs, and take safe food and convenient products off shelves,” according to a statement from the industry group.
Ahem. Not quite.
The FSIS reported that since 1998, breaded and stuffed raw chicken products have been associated with up to 14 outbreaks and approximately 200 illnesses.