Screenshot of ProPublica Story
Screenshot of ProPublica Story
Screenshot

ProPublica Publishes Investigation into Spread of Salmonella Infantis

The story is the result of an eight-month investigation by ProPublica that included public records requests, interviews with people in the industry and with families of people who were sickened.

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October 29, 2021

NEW YORK — ProPublica, a nonprofit newsroom that aims to produce investigative journalism, has published a story about the spread of Salmonella Infantis since 2018. 

Written by ProPublica's Bernice Yeung, Michael Grabell, Irena Hwang and Mollie Simon, "America’s Food Safety System Failed to Stop a Salmonella Epidemic. It’s Still Making People Sick," the story is the result of an eight-month investigation by ProPublica that included public records requests, interviews with people in the industry and with families of people who were sickened. 

In addition to that, the reporters analyzed the genetic data of seven years of Salmonella Infantis samples taken from food and patients.

Other key takeaways, according to ProPublica are: 

  • This virulent strain of Salmonella (the multidrug-resistant Infantis) has been spreading unchecked throughout the U.S. food supply chain.
  • The CDC and USDA have failed to protect consumers or rebuff industry influence.
  • The consolidated structure of the chicken industry is such that there is little incentive for companies to take more proactive steps to contain contamination. Salmonella can spread at the hatchery, farm or processing plant with few guardrails during each step, which is also explained in a handful of graphics.
  • ProPublica is also launching a website, Chicken Checker, that helps food shoppers look up Salmonella rates at the plants that processed their raw chicken or turkey. Reader participation, ProPublica said, will help it continue to investigate poultry suppliers that are still selling meat tainted with bacteria at high rates.

For it's part, USDA recently announced plans to launch new efforts to reduce Salmonella illnesses linked to poultry, which the ProPublica story references as well. 

Editor's Note: QA would like to hear what you have to say about this report. Email Editor Jason Brill at jbrill@gie.net.