Food: The Dangers of Foul Fowl

As poultry's popularity grows, the scourge of salmonella spreads

When Americans sit down to their Thanksgiving turkey this week, some uninvited guests could turn a nice meal into a miserable occasion. If the big bird is not thoroughly cooked, it could pass on bacteria that cause fever, stomach cramps, vomiting, diarrhea -- all the classic symptoms of food poisoning. Often the culprit is salmonella, a nasty microbe that, despite industry and government inspections, lurks in perhaps 35% of all poultry sold in the U.S.

Salmonella poisoning has been around for a long time, but the number of reported cases has surged, from 33,700 in 1980 to 47,800 last year. Those...

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