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USDA Reviews Whether Bacteria-killing Chemicals Are Masking Salmonella

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Food Safety Resource Center page  and our CAFO's vs. Free Range page.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is reviewing research showing that new bacteria-killing chemicals used in chicken slaughterhouses may be masking the presence of salmonella and other pathogens that remain on the birds that consumers buy, according to records and interviews.

Academic researchers agree that the chemicals could be overwhelming an antiquated testing process. Several of the scientists have been enlisted by the USDA's food safety experts to help resolve the matter.

The issue came to the department's attention this spring after chemical companies pointed to academic research that shows there could be a problem and told the USDA that further study was needed.

"This is a valid concern," said Catherine N. Cutter, chairman of Penn State University's Food Safety Impact Group, whose scientific work was referenced in materials that chemical companies provided to the USDA.

The controversy comes as the number and strength of chemicals used on poultry-processing lines is increasing as plants scramble to meet new USDA demands to slash pathogens.   


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