More Than a Year After the Start of a Salmonella Outbreak, Foster Farms Makes First Recall

Poultry giant Foster Farms will recall contaminated chicken from 3 California plants. Public health investigators have tied tainted chicken to an outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg that has, since March 2013, sickened more than 600 people in 29 states and Puerto Rico. U.S. authorities, however, had not previously established a direct link between the ongoing outbreak and a specific Foster Farms product. In the absence of such a finding, Foster Farms declined to issue recalls, even as federal authorities put out a public health alert and threatened to order a halt to the company’s poultry production. Late last week, however, Foster Farms announced that it would recall more than 1 million pounds of chicken that may have been contaminated with the pathogen. Reuters, Food Safety News, The Associated Press

Legal battle brews over chemical spill that fouled a vital West Virginia water supply. The small city of Hurricane, W.Va., and surrounding Putnam County want two subsidiaries of Waste Management Inc. that operate a local landfill to dig up and remove 228 tons of waste containing a chemical that contaminated the region’s water supply in January. The municipalities sued the companies in federal court in May, arguing that the waste is hazardous and not suited to the solid-waste landfill that handles ordinary trash. They said leached materials eventually flow to a collection pond, and then a wastewater treatment plant before being discharged into a creek. “We’re trying to prevent the inevitable pollution of another river,” said a lawyer for Hurricane. Waste Management says the case should be dismissed because the material doesn’t qualify as hazardous waste under U.S. law. The Wall Street Journal

Gruesome accidents involving untrained temp workers spur regulators to step up job safety enforcement. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, in recent cases, has held companies and temp agencies jointly responsible for training. The agency has fined temp agencies for not assessing potential dangers before sending people to a workplace. But a federal report on the accident that last year killed Janio Salinas, a 50-year-old temp worker buried alive at a Pennsylvania sugar plant, reveals how deeply rooted the problems are and how difficult a challenge OSHA faces with the boom in temporary staffing. In the Salinas case, a safety device that would have prevented the tragedy was removed 13 days before the accident because a manager believed it was slowing down production. ProPublica/Univision

Ohio leads the nation in hazardous material transportation accidents. An analysis shows that, since 1971, the state has had 43,891 hazmat spills. Pennsylvania was second, with 39,939 accidents. Although many of the spills are minor, the increase in hazardous material transported on the nation’s aging transportation infrastructure “is just a recipe for disaster,” said David Cassuto, environmental law professor at Pace University in New York City. “It’s not a question of if it will happen, but when and how bad.” Richard R. Young, professor of supply chain management at Penn State University-Harrisburg, said: “We are at our capacity on the highways and in many ways on the railroads as well. This has meant a perfect storm for potential accidents.” The threat is widespread: More than 48 million Americans live within 300 feet of a major highway, railroad or airport. Cincinnati Enquirer

Connecticut gun-seizure law may be a model for other states. Connecticut’s pioneering 1999 law allows judges to order guns temporarily seized after police present evidence that people are a danger to themselves or others. A court hearing must be held within 14 days to determine whether to return the guns or authorize the state to hold them for up to a year. The law was in response to the 1998 killings of four managers at the Connecticut Lottery headquarters by a disgruntled employee with a history of psychiatric problems. Indiana is the only other state with such a law, but California and New Jersey lawmakers proposed similar statutes after the killing of six people and the wounding of 13 others in May near the University of California at Santa Barbara. Gun rights advocates argue that such laws would allow police to take people’s firearms based only on allegations. The Associated Press

Compiled by Stuart Silverstein

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