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Why Sick Dairy Cows May Be the Culprit in Last Week's Historic Salmonella Beef Recall

Since the mid-1980s, scientists have identified dairy cows as the primary reservoir of Salmonella Newport. A closer look at established facts points to an ongoing food safety crisis hidden in plain sight.

Late last week, JBS, the world’s largest meatpacker, recalled 6.9 million pounds of ground beef that it said may have been tainted with Salmonella Newport. Here’s what we know four days into the recall: the strain is responsible for sickening 57 people in 16 states. All of the meat came from the same JBS plant in Tolleson, Arizona. And in less than a week, the incident has already reached historic proportions. It’s the largest recall of beef since the notorious Rancho Feeding Inc. recall of 2014. Former USDA food safety specialist Carl Custer has said it’s largest-ever recall of ground beef related to Salmonella.

Still, major questions remain. The United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) may again broaden the scope of the recall, as it already did on Thursday.

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