Moral Low Ground


U.S. Government Discovered Deadly Salmonella Strain in Cargill Turkey Plant in ’10 but Did Nothing

(Photo: Rocky Mountain Laboratories)

U.S. government officials discovered a potentially deadly form of salmonella at a Cargill turkey plant last year but did nothing about it until after someone recently died from eating contaminated meat.

According to Fox News, not only did the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) discover the dangerous Heidelberg strain of the bacteria last year, it also encountered it four time in 2011 at stores selling Cargill turkey products. The agency did notify Cargill of its findings, but that’s about all.

The National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System, another federal agency, also found the Heidelberg strain of salmonella in Cargill turkey this April.

It wasn’t until after one person died and 77 other fell ill that the USDA announced a recall of ground turkey meat processed at Cargill’s Springdale, Arkansas plant on August 3. Some 36,000,000 pounds of ground turkey meat were recalled, making this the second-largest meat recall in history.

“We have constraints when it comes to salmonella,” Elisabeth Hagen of the USDA told Fox News, adding that federal regulations do not treat salmonella as a toxic contaminant until the tainted meat causes illness or death. Meat processing plants, furthermore, are permitted to have up to half of their meat test positive for salmonella.

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