The Center for Science in the Public Interest today asked 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—facts that CSPI says obligates USDA to keep those strains out of the food supply.
I think this is a very good idea.
The meat industry fought the E. coli ban, too, recalled Bill Marler, a Seattle food safety lawyer who represented families of children sickened by that outbreak. It won’t be easy to eradicate Salmonella from meat and poultry, and it will be expensive, he said. But Salmonella is already banned from ready-to-eat produce, he noted. And it doesn’t have any place in other foods.
“Why do chicken manufacturers and why do beef manufacturers get a free ride on Salmonella when carrot and lettuce producers don’t?” Marler said. “Salmonella is an adulterant.”
Bill Marler, a food poisoning attorney who filed a successful petition on most of the now-banned E. coli strains, said the Salmonella petition has a good shot of being acted on by the USDA this time around. CSPI filed a similar petition that was rejected in 2011.
“It is long past due to give salmonella the same legal standing that pathogenic E. coli has. The beef industry has thrived with E. coli as an adulterant,” Marler said. “The meat industry as a whole will benefit ridding its product of Salmonella. What’s good for its consumers and public health will be good for the industry.”