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On Thursday, JBS Tolleson, Inc. announced it is recalling 6.9 million pounds of raw beef products as a result of Salmonella contamination. In the past month, this outbreak of Salmonella Newport has caused at least 57 illnesses in 16 states.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), however, doesn’t require beef producers to refrain from selling meat with Salmonella. Producers have no obligation to withhold contaminated products until the USDA traces sicknesses to a particular batch of meat, like in this case.
“It makes no sense that government agencies designed to protect our health allow tainted meat into the marketplace,” said Viveth Karthikeyan, Consumer Watchdog Associate at U.S. PIRG. “This grave oversight leaves consumers vulnerable to potentially life-threatening infections. We cannot wait around for another outbreak before mandating that the USDA institute the same standards for Salmonella that it has for other contaminants, such as certain strains of E. coli.”
In 2015, the U.S. Senate introduced the Meat and Poultry Recall Notification Act, which would have identified Salmonella as an adulterant. However, this attempt by legislators and advocates to make progress on this commonsense issue failed. The new JBS Tolleson recall is a powerful example of why we need such a law.
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