The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is proposing new rules that are "aimed at minimizing salmonella outbreaks from some breaded chicken products, a move the industry said could significantly affect availability and price.
"Part of a broader effort to contain salmonella, the new proposal takes aim at breaded, stuffed raw chicken products, such as frozen chicken cordon bleu. Because these products are often prebrowned, consumers might mistakenly think they are cooked, leading to consumption of undercooked chicken, the USDA said."
The Journal writes that "chicken producers are already required to test samples for salmonella, and they face more USDA scrutiny if contamination reaches a certain threshold. But consumer groups say contaminated chicken still sometimes ends up on shelves.
"Under the proposal, any breaded raw chicken product from a batch that tested positive for even a small amount of the bacteria wouldn’t be able to be sold. Companies could choose to cook the chicken, which kills the bacteria, for use in another product."
However, the National Chicken Council objects - it says that it "estimates that annually, more than 200 million servings of the breaded, stuffed raw chicken product would be lost, while production costs would rise, potentially closing smaller producers of the products and increasing consumer prices."
- KC's View:
I'm usually reflexively in favor of regulations that protect consumers, but I must admit to being a little confused about this one.
As I understand it, if consumers cook these chicken products to an internal temperature of 165° F, it destroys any salmonella. And the packages clearly say that this is what consumers have to do - that these are not cooked products.
My question is, don't consumers bear some responsibility for getting it right and following directions?
Again, I don't want anyone to get sick. But at some point we consumers have some responsibility for our own health and safety.