Lawsuit demands USDA response on antibiotic-resistant bacteria in meat

| June 3, 2014

ecoliUS Consumer watchdog the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has filed a lawsuit in the federal court in Washington requiring the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service to respond to a 2011 petition relating to antibiotic-resistant bacteria in meat.

The CSPI submitted the regulatory petition three years ago urging the USDA to treat certain antibiotic-resistant strains of four Salmonella serovars (Heidelberg, Newport, Hadar and Typhimurium) as adulterants in meat. This would mean that the sale and distribution of meat contaminated with these strains could be prevented. So far the Department has not responded to the petition, but has apologised for the delay, citing an on-going review of the situation.

The filing of the new lawsuit has been prompted by two outbreaks of antibiotic-resistant Salmonella Heidelberg infection linked to Foster Farms brand raw chicken. Neither outbreak resulted in a product recall. CSPI food safety director Caroline Smith DeWaal commented, “It is time for USDA to declare these dangerous resistant strains as adulterants and then require industry to conduct aggressive testing to keep meat and poultry contaminated with these strains out of the food supply, as it does with products contaminated with dangerous strains of E. coli.”

More details can be found on the CSPI web site here.

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