After watching Frontline’s show on the meat industry last night, I realized I have some conflicting information about Salmonella. My mother once had Salmonella poisoning, and was flat on her back in bed for two weeks. There’s also been many cases of small children dying of it. On the other hand, I once talked to a chef about salmonella and things like rare meat, raw eggs, etc. He said that his studies indicate that just about 100% of the eggs and chicken in this country have salmonella, and most healthy adults already have enough salmonella in their guts to have built up enough of an immune system that it’s really not a problem. Of course, for young children, older people, and people with unhealthy immune systems, eggs should be cooked thoroughly and meat should be charred through.
One key issue in last night’s Frontline was that a small meat packing company had recently won a lawsuit where the supreme court had ruled that the fact that salmonella was present in 50% of this company’s raw hamburger did not pose a safety risk to people, as if the hamburger was cooked properly (meaning, charred through) the salmonella was not a risk.
As I have taste buds, this trend upsets me. Already many of the ‘box’ restaurants refuse to cook hamburgers anything rarer than medium. Some places won’t cook eggs with runny yolks. My gut feeling is that we, as a country, should not accept the meat industry’s attitude that Salmonella is no big deal - just char the #!!@ out of the food! Who cares how it tastes?!? On the other hand, if most adults have built up a tolerance, is it really an issue?
Any one have any facts about this?