The Center for Science in the Public Interest is asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture to declare four antibiotic-resistant strains of Salmonella as adulterants under federal law. In a petition filed with the agency CSPI says antibiotic-resistant strains on meat and poultry were linked to at least 2,358 illnesses, 424 hospitalizations, and eight deaths.
In July, USDA denied without prejudice a 2011 CSPI petition asking the agency to declare antibiotic-resistant Salmonella strains that caused illnesses as adulterants in ground meat and poultry. The new petition is asking for expanded relief by covering all meat and poultry products, not just ground products.
In 1994, USDA declared E. coli O157:H7 an adulterant after it sickened more than 700 consumers and caused three deaths from undercooked hamburgers. The agency acted again in 2011 when it declared six strains of shiga-toxin-producing E. coli to be adulterants, though those strains weren't linked to a single outbreak in the United States from meat or poultry products. CSPI is also asking USDA to institute a sampling and testing program to detect the presence of the Heidelberg, Typhimurium, Newport, and Hadar strains of antibiotic-resistant Salmonella. Declaring strains of Salmonella to be an adulterant means that USDA could get tainted meat and poultry products out of the marketplace before they were linked to illnesses.
Wednesday October 1, 2014/ CSPI/ USA.