Officials puzzled by continuing salmonella outbreaks

When a food is found to be contaminated with dangerous bacteria or toxins in Tennessee, certain safety precautions are taken to protect consumers, such as recalls and media announcements. In some cases, federal agencies determine that it must oversee a company in order to ensure that future products do not suffer from the same problems. Sometimes, however, tracking down a contaminant's source leads to more questions than answers.

Authorities with the federal Food Safety and Inspection Service are puzzled by a continuing outbreak of salmonella, tied to Foster Farms chicken products. Incidents of salmonella poisoning began about a year ago, and have resulted in almost 600 cases. Although the federal agency has been monitoring the company's facilities and has been seeing low contamination levels, 50 new cases have arisen. Further complicating the matter is that the new poisonings are linked to fresh chicken, not frozen.

Because of the discrepancy between the FSIS' findings and the continuing outbreaks, the agency suspects that the contamination might be occurring outside of Foster Farms' facilities.

There is a growing sense of urgency to discovering the contamination source; approximately 13 percent of the salmonella poisonings have led to life-threatening conditions--3 times the amount usually seen with such incidents.

Those who have had loved ones die due to consumption of tainted food products may want to speak with a lawyer about pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit. An attorney may be able to assist these victims with claims involving product liability, manufacturer negligence, and death as a result of a defective product.

Source: NBC News, "Salmonella Surprise: 574 Sick In Foster Farms Outbreak, CDC Says," Jonel Aleccia, May 27, 2014. 

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