Frontline’s new episode “The Trouble With Chicken,” which premiered Tuesday night on PBS and is now streaming online, is pretty much as close as the food safety world has ever gotten to its own “The Jinx.”
Like HBO’s mini-series on alleged murderer Robert Durst, “The Trouble With Chicken” investigates, with careful research and damning interviews, a lethal mystery that spans decades and states across the country. But the killer in this documentary doesn’t wield a knife or a chainsaw. It isn’t even a person. It’s a type of bacteria: salmonella Heidelberg, which sickened hundreds of people in two major outbreaks in 2004 and 2013. Both of them stemmed from chicken sold by California-based poultry producer Foster Farms.