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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Opinion Editorial: Old South Salmonella Outbreak

By William D. Marler
I always find it a bit odd these PR events that restaurants do after an outbreak that sickens hundreds and kills people – although this is the first time that I have seen a minister as the spokesperson. I have seen it dozens of times in prior outbreaks and I am always a bit amazed how the victims are often ignored. The reality of this outbreak is that Old South will likely have little insurance coverage or assets compared to the damages inflicted on its customers – see www.about-salmonella.com and www.about-reiters-syndrome.com. If this outbreak occurred against a large chain restaurant, the compensation to these people would be fairly in the 10’s of millions. How many of these people have no health insurance? How has being off work for days impacted their families? What about risks of long-term health problems? What about loosing a husband and father?

It is good that it appears that the HD is in agreement that the turkey is the likely source of the salmonella. However, the USDA has never said that salmonella on whole turkey is in fact an adulterant under the FMIA like it has with E. coli O157:H7 in hamburger meat – see this article on the USDA-FSIS website: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Frame/FrameRedirect.asp?main=/OPHS/haccp/salm6year.htm , “Progress Report on Salmonella Testing of Raw Meat and Poultry Products, 1998-2003”, also available as pdf: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/PDF/Salmonella_Progress_Report_1998-2003.pdf. So, in the end the restaurant reopens and hopefully they cook safer. Turkey growers keep feeding their stock antibiotics and slaughter houses keep producing carcasses with guaranteed amounts of salmonella and campylobacter, and the USDA sits on its hands. And the victims, what about the victims?