retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The New York Times this morning reports that “chances are higher than they were just a few years ago that the chicken you buy will be contaminated with the bacteria salmonella. But the government hasn't been doing much about the situation. It lacks the authority.”

In fact, according to the Times there has been an 80 percent increase in chickens infected with salmonella since 2000 – and critics say that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) simply hasn’t been up to the task of protecting the American public from salmonella poisoning.

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) has introduced five different pieces of legislation designed to give the USDA greater authority over meat and poultry safety issues, but all five have been defeated with USDA saying that it does not need greater authority.
KC's View:
We are continually amazed by what seems like utter incompetence at the USDA, which sometimes seems like it is sharing resources with FEMA.

If these guys cannot figure out how to prevent the growth of incidences of salmonella, how exactly are we supposed to trust them when it comes to avian flu?

This is the kind of question that consumers are going to be asking, and the food industry better start coming up with answers – because relying on the government seems like a fool’s errand.