Consumers Role in Chain of Custody

Can you remember everything you’ve eaten in the last week? That apparently was one of the issues facing investigators trying to track the source of antibiotic-resistant salmonella that killed one woman and made people sick in 26 states over a five month period. According to an Associated Press story, some victims won’t or can’t recall what they have consumed that might have been contaminated. That makes it difficult to track down the source of the infection. A USDA official told AP that grocery loyalty cards helped investigators pin down the source when memories failed.
The scope of the recall — 36 million pounds of ground turkey — and the size of the company involved — Cargill — will likely heat up discussions about tighter chain of custody regulations in the food industry. The recalled turkey was packaged under eleven different brand names. And five months is a long time between the first illness and the first public alert.
Nevertheless, the situation also shows that no matter how well you document the chain of custody from raw material to consumer, there is still one more link —  the consumer him or herself.


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