United States

A Rise In Meat and Poultry Recalls

Consumer watchdog finds recalls nearly doubled during five-year-span.

The chance that you will get sick from tainted meat and poultry is greater than ever, says a newly-released study from the California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG).

The study, entitled “How Safe is Our Food?” finds one in six Americans contract a foodborne illness from eating meats and vegetables. As a result, the consumer protection group is calling for increased oversight from the government.

“We need to improve our systems for making sure that recalled products are taken off store shelves and that consumers who have bought those products are adequately notified,” says CALPIRG’s executive director Emily Rusch in an interview with NBC 7’s affiliate in the Bay Area

The group looked at food recalls since 2013. The results were staggering.

Since 2013 meat and poultry recalls rose by 67 percent. The most hazardous recalls during that time nearly doubled in the five-year span.

In all, food recalls for meat, poultry, processed food, and produce increased by ten percent.

Oversight, says Rusch, needs to be improved to ensure food safety and decrease the number of food-borne illnesses.

For instance, one area that needs to be improved, Rusch says, make it illegal for distributors and farms from selling poultry that has tested positive for Salmonella. Currently, it is legal for them to do just that.

“When you’re allowed to put chicken that has antibiotic-resistant strains of salmonella on store shelves, that’s a real warning cry that we need to make sure that everything on store shelves would be something that you’d want to feed to your kids,” adds Rusch.

Rusch says that as long as the law remains, Americans need to make sure they cook their food properly.

FDA Commission Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who was contacted by NBC Bay Area on Twitter, says the the agency welcomes the report.

“We appreciate US PIRG's interest in the safety of the nation's food system and we always welcome a larger conversation on the topic. Public health is our top priority and FDA is working hard to ensure the U.S. food supply remains among the safest in the world."

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