Consumer Group Says USDA Must Take Action on Salmonella

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) is asking USDA to declare antibiotic-resistant strains of Salmonella  (Heidelberg Typhimurium, Newport, and Hadar) as adulterants. CSPI’s new petition would cover all meat and poultry products and asks USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to institute a sampling and testing program to detect the presence of antibiotic-resistant Salmonella. 

In the petition, CSPI says antibiotic-resistant strains on meat and poultry were linked to at least 2,358 illnesses, 424 hospitalizations, and eight deaths. CSPI said, “The fact that USDA has initiated numerous recalls in outbreaks involving antibiotic-resistant Salmonella is further proof that the agency knows that the strains are adulterants capable of causing injury.” 

In July, USDA denied CSPI’s 2011 petition that would have only covered ground meat and poultry.  One of the reasons for denial was USDA said ordinary cooking is sufficient to kill Salmonella.  However, CSPI says that USDA failed to provide any scientific support for that claim and there are a number of studies indicating that consumers’ cooking, handling, and cleaning practices are not adequate to control Salmonella.  

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