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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Foster Farms outbreak sparks legal petition to outlaw dangerous pathogens

Today's post was shared by Take Justice Back and comes from

Although hundreds of Americans were hospitalized over the past two years with salmonella poisoning linked to Foster Farms chickens, the U.S. Agriculture Department said it had no power to order a recall on the contaminated poultry.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest took steps Wednesday to change that. The Washington-based group filed a petition with the USDA, outlining legal arguments for a ban on four of the most dangerous strains of salmonella.

The strains are all resistant to multiple classes of the most commonly used antibiotics, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

In its petition, the consumer group included its own analysis that showed 2,358 illnesses, 424 hospitalization and eight deaths have been linked to antibiotic-resistant salmonella strains found in meat and chicken. Most of the cases are from the mid 1990s to present.

In its announcement, the group said findings of their analysis “obligates USDA to keep those strains out of the food supply.”

Salmonella Heidelberg — which the CDC linked to the Foster Farms outbreak — is one of the strains that CSPI is seeking to ban.

The Foster Farms outbreak lasted for more than 15 months, and CDC did not declare it to be over until late July. The agency also said the outbreak sickened at least 638 people, with nearly 40 percent requiring hospitalization. The company has made a number of changes in its plants over the past year and says that, over the past several months, the rate...

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