U.S. Raw Chicken Infected with Dangerous Pathogens, Says Frontline’s New News Documentary ‘The Trouble with Chicken‘
A news segment titled ‘The Trouble with Chicken’ was featured on Frontline. The documentary which is now available for online viewing investigates into what’s behind the outbreak and spreading of Salmonella, a dangerous pathogen that grips the U.S. so frequently. It especially focuses on the 2004 and 2013 outbreaks that caused American chicken consumers severe illnesses, and tries to find out why the food industry regulators are doing nothing about it.
The PBS Frontline documentary features detailed research and a series of interviews to unravel the mystery of the chicken and poultry industry across different states of the nation. In both the outbreaks of salmonella, in 2004 and 2013, chicken from Foster Farms, a poultry farm from California, was involved. Though the coverage of each of these outbreaks was generously carried out by the media, people were kept from understanding the whole story; and when we say people, this includes general public as well as those with regulatory authority.
‘The trouble with chicken’ starts with a family that fell prey to the 2013 outbreak of Salmonella. An eighteen-month child from this family was infected with salmonella after eating chicken bought from Foster Farms. The infection spread to his brain and formed a fatal abscess there. It was nothing less than an emergency surgery through the skull that was required to save the life of this innocent victim. And even though his life was saved, he went into a fatal coma before recovering completely from the illness. The reporter in the documentary tries to delve deeper into the cause of the illness.
Is your chicken safe?
It is not that Foster Farms didn’t receive any warning from the health regulatory authorities in the country; there were repeated warnings issued by the FDA and the department of health (Oregon) after the 2004 outbreak itself, but this poultry company (which happens to be the biggest one in the West Coast) blatantly refused to make any improvement in its safety standards. This later on lead to the second outbreak of the disease in 2013. If that was not enough, the company didn’t take any action even after the 2013 outbreak for over a year citing lack of conclusive evidence against it; and during this period, another 600 people fell ill solely due to the gross callousness of the company.
As per Frontline investigator, David Hoffman, one in every four raw chicken pieces is infected with the dangerous pathogen and U.S. government is doing nothing to check it. As many as one million Americans fall sick every year due to infection of Salmonella out of which 19,000 are hospitalized and over 380 people die.
On asked about the compulsion of the government behind not taking any action on it, Hoffman said that the government feels it has no authority on the matter and there are legal complications involved.
‘The trouble with chicken’ is a compelling documentary with a deep insight into the American poultry industry and the functioning of the food safety authorities in the country. It’s an eye opener for all those who eat chicken.
Watch the full Frontline video here: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/trouble-with-chicken/