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‘Dirty meat’: Shocking hygiene failings discovered in US pig and chicken plants

ANDREW WASLEY:      ‘Shocking hygiene failings have been discovered in some of the US’s biggest meat plants, as a new analysis reveals that as many as 15% (one in seven) of the US population suffers from foodborne illnesses annually. A joint investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ) and the Guardian found that hygiene incidents are at numbers that experts described as “deeply worrying”. US campaigners are calling once again for the closure of a legal loophole that allows meat with salmonella to be sold in the human supply chain, and also warn about the industry’s push to speed up production in the country’s meat plants…

The Bureau and the Guardian obtained previously unpublished documents relating to 47 meat plants across the US. Some of the documents relate to certain companies, including Pilgrim’s Pride, one of the US’s biggest poultry producers, and Swift Pork. Although not a comprehensive portrait of the sector – there are around 6,000 US plants regularly inspected by Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) – the documents provide a snapshot of issues rarely detailed in public which has rung alarm bells with campaigners in both the US and UK…

The US has shockingly high levels of foodborne illness, according to a new analysis by UK pressure group Sustain. It says that annually, around 14.7% (48 million people) of the US population is estimated to suffer from an illness, compared to around 1.5% (1 million) in the UK. In the US, 128,000 are hospitalised, and 3,000 die each year of foodborne diseases. One bug, salmonella, causes around 1m illnesses per year in the US, while in the UK the numbers of officially recorded incidents is relatively low, with just under 10,000 laboratory confirmed cases in 2016. However, unreported incidents could substantially increase those numbers’. SOURCE…

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