Nationwide Salmonella Outbreak: Government Shutdown Compounds Problem
This past week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a public health warning for raw chicken, after they were finally able to establish a connection to a particularly widespread salmonella outbreak that began in March, and which as sickened as many as 300 people in 18 states thus far.
The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service said their investigators found it extremely difficult to pinpoint the exact source of the illnesses over the past few months, because the outbreak is so widespread and has resulted in a large number of hospitalizations. But now they face a new obstacle, since the government shutdown has resulted in the furlough of nearly all public health officials. That may make it impossible to follow up, even as the illness spreads.
While they were able to issue a warning, finally, because of the shutdown they are still unable to provide sufficient details to assist consumers. The only details both agencies have been able to confirm so far is that the chicken believed to be at the heart of the outbreak had been processed and packaged at three California facilities owned by Foster Farms. Investigators believe the chicken was mainly distributed to the west coast – primarily California, Washington and Oregon, but they have been unable to pinpoint a specific product or time period, which means they can be sure of almost nothing. And the shutdown limits their ability to find further clues.
Thankfully, California health officials are still able to work, and they’re investigating as much as they can. They’ve also asked consumers to thoroughly cook their chicken in order to kill potential bacteria. But the state health officials don’t have the resources or the scope of the CDC, which is specifically designed to monitor multi-state outbreaks of food poisoning. But the federal agency has been severely addled, what with only two of the CDC’s foodborne illness investigators having survived the shutdown and continued to work.
The Texas Food Poisoning Lawyers at Hill Law Firm have experience and know exactly what to do, to get food production companies – including large ones – to pay attention to your case when you are stricken with a food borne illness like salmonella. If you or a loved one has been sickened by food contamination or poisoning, please contact the Texas Food Poisoning Injury Lawyers at Hill Law Firm immediately.