Your meat isn't as clean as you would hope. One nonprofit advocacy group is suing the U.S. Department of Agriculture, stating that the agency has not responded in a correct way when the group questioned the concern of fecal matter in the production of chicken and other meats. The group, which represents over 12,000 physicians who advocate plant-based diets and ethical scientific research is now recommending the USDA to include "may contain fecal matter" on packages of meat and chicken.
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has been questioning the concern of fecal contamination in poultry products and meat for the past six years. This month the group finally took a legal stand and filed a lawsuit federal district court based in Washington, DC.
Currently, the US Department of Agriculture has a "zero tolerance policy for fecal material on meat and poultry," a spokesperson shared with CNN. The department continuously sends inspectors to look at and inspect "statistically valid sample of carcasses randomly selected throughout the production shift."
Find some feces? The USDA states that they remove the contaminated meat from the line. However, according to the PCRM, the inspectors are only removing meat where there is visible fecal contamination. After asking questions to the USDA, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine decided to take the matter into their own hands and test the meat themselves. When they tested chicken products, 48% of the products came back positive for fecal bacteria.
Not only is finding feces in your meat products disgusting, but it's also a concern for food safety. Major foodborne illnesses like e.coli live in the fecal matter of animals and can cause illness when ingested. After finding this evidence and presenting it to the USDA, the department had no response.
This lawsuit hopes to bring some light on the issue, sharing with consumers that the ground beef or chicken thighs you find in the grocery store might not be as clean as you think.