The Willis Report: Is your food safe? - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

The Willis Report: Is your food safe?

Posted: Updated:

By Gerri Willis
FOX Business Network


Is your food safe? That's a question I wish more people were asking. The truth is that the meat, dairy and vegetables you buy at the grocery store may carry bacteria or some other food contaminant.

The question is particularly relevant in the wake of West Coast chicken processor Foster Farm's products sickening nearly 300 people in 17 states earlier this fall. The outbreak is the second of the year for Foster Farms. While the USDA originally threatened to shut down three of the plants cited in the outbreak, regulators backed off after the producer agreed to make safety changes. Food safety experts are paying particular attention to this outbreak because it involves an especially serious salmonella bacteria called Heidelberg, which is more likely to land victims in the hospital. Worse, several of the strains of this bacteria have been found resistant to antibiotics. Foster Farms has said that consumers' should protect themselves by handling chicken safely. And, while some say that the government shutdown is what caused the Foster Farms' problem to gain national attention, the truth is that the company has repeatedly run afoul of safety standards.

And, it's not just chicken. In a recent test Consumer Reports found that half of the ground turkey they bought from retailers across the country tested positive for fecal bacteria, others contained germs like salmonella and staphylococcus.

Experts say the problem could get worse before it gets better. Just recently the USDA voted to allow four Chinese processing plants to export cooked chicken to the U.S. Initially, these processors will only be allowed to export chicken products made from birds that were raised in the U.S. and Canada. But Food & Water Watch's Patty Lovera says the USDA has set up a slippery slope in which the rule could eventually be changed to allow Chinese-origin poultry to come here. Lovera describes the food safety system in China as inadequate. "Even the government of China admits they have a lot of work to do. They are not anywhere near being able to enforce the regulations that they have." Consumers should watch for country of origin labeling when shopping, just keep in mind that the law doesn't apply to "processed" versions of those foods or food served in restaurants.

In this country little more than 2 percent of imported food is inspected. which is becoming an increasing proportion of food that is sold in this country. What's more, the cost of physically inspecting or sampling food that is imported is $170 per field exam on average and approximately $2,800 per sample analyzed.

Interact with Gerri on Twitter @GerriWillisFBN and Facebook for more information, or to voice your concerns and questions.

  • BusinessMore>>

  • US bars Kurdish oil from entering Texas port

    US bars Kurdish oil from entering Texas port

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 2:56 PM EDT2014-07-29 18:56:45 GMT
    A U.S. District Court Judge has ordered the seizure of a vessel carrying about 1 million barrels of Kurdish crude oil about 60 miles off the Galveston coast.
    A U.S. District Court Judge has ordered the seizure of a vessel carrying about 1 million barrels of Kurdish crude oil about 60 miles off the Galveston coast.
  • Clean-air rules assailed as too much, too little

    Clean-air rules assailed as too much, too little

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 2:56 PM EDT2014-07-29 18:56:41 GMT
    Hundreds of people will tell the Environmental Protection Agency what they think of proposed rules to cut pollution from power plants during public hearings Tuesday and Wednesday in Denver.
    Hundreds of people across the country lined up Tuesday to tell the Environmental Protection Agency that its new rules for power-plant pollution either go too far or not far enough.
  • Highway, bridge money at risk: Senate to vote

    Highway, bridge money at risk: Senate to vote

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 2:50 PM EDT2014-07-29 18:50:03 GMT
    The Senate is scheduled to take up legislation Tuesday to keep federal highway money flowing to states, with just three days left before the government plans to start slowing down payments.
    Racing to adjourn for the summer, the Senate scheduled major votes Tuesday on proposals to keep federal highway funds flowing across the nation - billions of dollars to avert layoffs for construction workers and shutdowns...
Powered by WorldNow

25 FOX Drive
Dedham, MA 02026

Phone (781) 467-2525

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices