Petitioners, Rick Schiller, Steven Romes, The Porter Family, Food & Water Watch, Consumer Federation of America and Consumer Reports.

Each year, Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica causes 1.35 million illnesses, 26,500 hospitalizations, and 420 deaths in the United States.[1] However, for every diagnosed and reported case of Salmonella, scientists estimate that 38 similar cases go unreported.[2] If these scientific predictions are accurate, Salmonella causes approximately 51.3 million illnesses each year and sickens one in six Americans.

There exist Salmonella serotypes that have demonstrable histories of foodborne illness outbreaks and have thus been proven injurious to human health. These “Outbreak Serotypes”[3] have been associated with numerous recalls, demonstrating not only failures within consumer and retail kitchens but also within federally inspected establishments. Thus, Marler Clark LLP, PS, on behalf of Rick Schiller, Steven Romes, the Porter Family, Food & Water Watch, Consumer Federation of America, and Consumer Reports are requesting that the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) declare these Salmonella Outbreak Serotypes adulterants in meat and poultry products.

Rick Schiller was one of hundreds of persons sickened in the March 2013 Salmonella outbreak linked to Foster Farms poultry. Late one night in September of 2013, Rick was awakened by a sharp pain. When he pulled back the covers, he was startled by the sight of his own body—his right leg was dark purple and swollen to about three times its normal size. When a doctor examined Rick’s leg, she warned him that it was so swollen there was a chance that it might burst. Rick’s doctors eventually discovered that he had contracted Salmonella Heidelberg, which triggered a cascade of conditions, including an inflamed colon and an acute form of arthritis.

In September 2018, Steven Romes consumed medium-to-well done hamburgers as part of a Labor Day family cookout. Two days later, Steven fell ill with painful diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps. Tests in the emergency room revealed that Steven was suffering from acute kidney injury and his illness was determined to be one of many illnesses in a nationwide outbreak of Salmonella Newport linked to various ground and non-intact beef products manufactured by JBS USA, the world’s largest meatpacker. Steven was later diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Today, he can only tolerate bland foods and he still occasionally suffers from stomach cramps and diarrhea.

Rose Porter and her 10-year-old daughter Mikayla Porter were two of nearly 200 people reported ill in the summer of 2015 from tainted pork in Washington state. On June 28, 2015, Rose hosted a party at her home. For the event, Rose had purchased a whole hog from a local butcher and spit-roasted it for the recommended 13 hours. By Independence Day of that year (July 4, 2015), a doctor warned Rose and Roger Porter that their daughter Mikayla could die within hours. For nearly a week, Rose and Mikayla had suffered from intensifying bouts of fever, diarrhea, and stomach pains because Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i-. In the end, Rose and Mikayla survived, but the threat of the infection that nearly killed them continues.

Modern scientific and medical research has revealed the health hazards posed by Outbreak Serotypes of Salmonella. Turkeys, chickens, pigs, and cows carry Salmonella and eventually shed the pathogen in their feces, thus delivering it to the environment. As a result, Salmonella is frequently transmitted to humans through the consumption of contaminated animal-based foods, namely poultry, beef, and pork. Although virulence markers are not serotype specific, research has shown that certain Salmonella serotypes are more likely to cause systemic disease. Additionally, a variety of processing methods have been proven to contaminate parts previously uncontaminated with bacteria and exacerbate the spread of pathogens in meat and poultry.

Accordingly, we (the Petitioners) urge the administration of FSIS to issue an interpretive rule declaring Salmonella Outbreak Serotypes adulterants within the meanings of the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) and the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA). By banning recurring serotypes in meat and poultry products, FSIS will take a significant leap forward in ensuring the safety of American consumers. As the burden of Salmonella infection within the U.S. steadily increases, immediate action on this issue is critical.

Thanks to Denis, Josh, Carl, Ilana and the dozens of others, unnamed at their request, who provided invaluable comments on the Petition.  You can download it here:



[1]Salmonella Homepage.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2019.

[2] Mead, P. S., et al. (2000). Food-Related Illness and Death in the United States. J Environ Health. 62(7):9-18.

[3] For the purposes of this petition, the term “Outbreak Serotypes” refers to thirty-one Salmonella serotypes: S. Agona, Anatum, Berta, Blockely, Braenderup, Derby, Dublin, Enteritidis, Hadar, Heidelberg, I 4,[5],12:i:-, Infantis, Javiana, Litchfield, Mbandaka, Mississippi, Montevideo, Muenchen, Newport, Oranienburg, Panama, Poona, Reading, Saintpaul, Sandiego, Schwarzengrund, Senftenberg, Stanley, Thompson, Typhi, and Typhimurium.