December 19th, 2013
10:57 AM ET

Report: USDA Should be Doing More to Fight Salmonella

Salmonellosis is a nasty illness. People infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, a fever and abdominal cramps that usually last for four to seven days.

The dangerous bacteria is found in the food we eat, usually chicken, beef or eggs that have been contaminated with animal feces. And a new report from Pew Charitable Trusts says the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) isn't doing enough to keep our food Salmonella-free.

"When more than 500 people get sick from two outbreaks associated with chicken that meets federal safety standards, it is clear that those standards are not effectively protecting public health," Sandra Eskin, director of Pew's food safety project, said in a statement.

Every year, approximately 42,000 cases of salmonellosis are reported in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but the actual number of infections may be much higher. The majority of outbreaks over the last two decades have been linked to live poultry.

Pew researchers specifically looked at two recent outbreaks that were connected to chicken produced by Foster Farms in California.

Between June 2012 and May 2013, 134 people became infected with Salmonella Heidelberg - mostly in Oregon and Washington, according to the CDC. Tests identified the outbreak strain in four samples of chicken that were traced back to two Foster Farms slaughterhouses.

Then in the summer and fall of 2013, 389 people in 23 states and Puerto Rico became sickened with varying strains of Salmonella Heidelberg. CDC investigators determined consumption of Foster Farms chicken was the likely source of the outbreak.

"In neither instance did FSIS ask Foster Farms to institute a recall or stop shipping potentially contaminated chicken to market," the Pew report authors wrote.

No deaths were reported in either outbreak.

In a separate investigation, Consumer Reports said it found "worrisome" levels of bacteria in tests conducted on 316 chicken breasts, including 64 from brands that use no antibiotics in raising chickens and 24 organic samples.

"Every one of the four major brands we tested contained worrisome amounts of bacteria, even the chicken breasts labeled 'no antibiotics' or 'organic,' " Consumer Reports said.

The most common bacteria found was enterococcus, a fecal contaminant, in 79.8%. Next was E. coli, in 65.2%. Campylobacter, salmonella and staphylococcus aureus were also present, according to the report.

Dr. Roshini Raj speaks on "New Day" about these cases and offers advice to viewers on cooking chicken thoroughly and keeping surfaces clean.

"The old theory was 165 degrees will kill it. Now, some are saying go up to 185 degrees because we are seeing new strains of bacteria that might be more resistant to killing, but you also have to be very careful when you're handling raw chicken – that you're washing all the surfaces, all the utensils, your hands – before you're touching everything else in your kitchen," she says.

SEE FULL INTERVIEW ABOVE

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December 19th, 2013
10:40 AM ET

Target: 40 Million Credit Cards Compromised

A breach of credit and debit card data at discount retailer Target may have affected as many as 40 million shoppers who went to the store in the three weeks after Thanksgiving, the retailer said Thursday. CNN's Christine Romans reports.

Late Wednesday, the Secret Service, which is charged with safeguarding the nation's financial infrastructure and payment systems, confirmed it was investigating the breach.

Spokesman Brian Leary declined further comment.

The breach first came to light via a report from respected security researcher Brian Krebs, who said Target had suffered a data breach around the time of Black Friday last month "potentially involving millions of customer credit and debit card records."

Target (TGTFortune 500), the nation's No. 2 general merchandise retailer after Wal-Mart Stores (WMTFortune 500), said cards used at the brick-and-mortar stores between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15, 2013, may have been impacted.

The retailer said it notified authorities and financial institutions immediately after it was made aware of the unauthorized access, and had hired a forensics team to thoroughly investigate how the breach may have happened.

"Target's first priority is preserving the trust of our guests and we have moved swiftly to address this issue, so guests can shop with confidence," CEO Gregg Steinhafel said in a statement. "We regret any inconvenience this may cause."

The thieves reportedly gained access to data on the magnetic strips of shoppers' cards, potentially allowing them to produce counterfeit versions, according to Krebs.

The thieves could also potentially withdraw cash from ATMs using counterfeit debit cards if they were able to intercept PIN data from Target, he said.

American Express (AXPFortune 500) and Discover (DFSFortune 500) both said they were "aware" of the incident and had fraud controls in place.

"This is an ongoing investigation," an AmEx spokeswoman said, declining to comment further.

MasterCard (MAFortune 500) referred questions to Target; Visa (VFortune 500)did not respond to requests for comment.

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December 19th, 2013
10:31 AM ET

Report: Even Kate Middleton's Phone Got Hacked

The British tabloid News of the World hacked Kate Middleton's phone while she was dating Prince William, a prosecutor told a London court Thursday in a trial of the defunct newspaper's executives, according to the British Press Association.

In one voicemail message that William left Kate - the transcript of which was read in court by the prosecutor - the prince calls his future wife "Babykins" and says he was almost shot by blank rounds during a military training exercise, the PA reported.

The date of the message wasn't immediately clear, though the couple weren't yet married at the time, the PA reported. Middleton became the Duchess of Cambridge when she married William in April 2011.

The transcript, dug up during a police investigation into the newspaper's alleged hacking practices, was one of several messages between the couple that were read at London's Old Bailey court, the PA reported.

The revelation came at the trial of former News of the World editors Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson and the paper's former managing editor, Stuart Kuttner. All are accused of conspiring between October 2000 and August 2006 "to intercept communications in the course of their transmission, without lawful authority." They deny the charges.

Glenn Mulcaire, a former private investigator for News International - the then parent company of News of the World - was convicted of phone hacking in 2006 and has already pleaded guilty to hacking charges in the current case.

Greg Miskiw, Neville Thurlbeck and James Weatherup have also pleaded guilty in the case.

Jurors were told that Ian Edmondson, who is also charged with conspiring to hack phones between October 2000 and August 2006, is "currently unfit" and will take no further part in the trial, the PA reported. He will be tried at a later date, the judge said.

Brooks, her husband, Charlie Brooks, and her former personal assistant Cheryl Carter also face a separate set of charges of conspiring to obstruct the police investigation into phone hacking.

Brooks is also accused of conspiring with others to commit misconduct in public office. Coulson faces a similar charge, the PA reported.

Among the allegations made in the trial previously: A police investigator testified that several hundred attempts were made to hack the cellphones of aides to princes Charles, William and Harry.

Hacking allegations against the News of the World prompted British Prime Minister David Cameron to set up an independent inquiry, led by Lord Justice Leveson, to make recommendations on journalistic ethics and examine the relationship of the media with the public, police and politicians.

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December 19th, 2013
10:20 AM ET

Better Stuff: Donations Help Blind Man Keep His Guide Dog

In today's edition of the "Good Stuff," donations pour in to help a blind man keep his service dog as a pet. CNN's Chris Cuomo reports.

The blind man, Cecil Williams, was walking on the subway platform in New York with his service dog, Orlando, 10,  when witnesses describe him slipping and falling onto the tracks.

A nearby MTA employee jumped into action and tried to calm the man, instructing Williams to lie still between the subway rails and not try and climb out as a northbound "A" train quickly approached.

Williams followed those instructions and he and Orlando were safe.

However, we learned that Williams' insurance company was no longer going to cover Orlando's care because he's almost too old to be a seeing eye dog any more.

We put out the call for help and the goal was quickly met at this online fundraising drive at this Go Fund Me site.

Orlando is now covered as Cecil's pet for the rest of his life and Cecil will get a younger seeing eye dog to help him moving forward.

Williams says  "Thank you to everybody for showing humanity, peace and good will at this time, because for me, Orlando, he's my best buddy, he's my pal. He's done work for eight years straight. He's a senior citizen...he's looking forward to enjoying life now."

If you'd like to help blind people who can't afford assistance animals, visit https://www.guidingeyes.org/20488/cecil-and-orlando/

If you have #GoodStuff news, let us know! Leave a comment, post on Facebook, or tweet to @ChrisCuomo & @NewDay using #NewDay and submit your story on iReport.

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