PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A Penn bioethicist is criticizing the federal government for not informing the public sooner about a salmonella outbreak apparently related to ground turkey which has killed one person so far.

The US Department of Agriculture issued an advisory last Friday to thoroughly cook meat because of salmonella cases that may be linked to ground turkey (see related story).

But the USDA has not issued a recall, and the Associated Press says several dozen illnesses from the same strain of salmonella -– including five in Pennsylvania -– date back to March.

caplan art1282 Philadelphia Bioethics Expert Criticizes USDA Over Salmonella Response

(Prof. Arthur Caplan. Credit: Univ. of Pa.)

“Well, I’m very disappointed,” says Prof. Art Caplan (right), a bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania.  “I think the primary duty of government agencies is to let the public know when they see a pattern, even if they don’t have all the details, even if they don’t have all the confirmation.”

The USDA on Tuesday morning refused a request for an interview, saying in an e-mail that the illnesses have not been linked to any particular brand, product, or establishment, and that its investigation was continuing.

Reported by KYW Harrisburg bureau chief Tony Romeo

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