September 15, 2019

Foster Farms Salmonella Chicken Outbreak at 621 Ill

The CDC has updated their investigation into the multistate outbreak of multidrug-resistant Salmonella Heidelberg infections linked to Foster Farms chicken. The case count now stands at 621 ill in 29 states and Puerto Rico. Thirty-six percent of patients have been hospitalized. Most ill persons live in California. With the multiplier used for Salmonella infections since they are so underreported, at least 18,800 people have been sickened in this outbreak. Patients are sick with seven outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg; four of those are resistant to more than one antibiotic. Antibiotic resistant bacteria are associated with increased risk of hospitalization; and in fact, the hospitalization rate for this outbreak is almost double the usual number for Salmonella … [Read more...]

House Bill Would Ban Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria: FSIS Responds

This week, House members Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Louise Slaughter (D-NY) introduced a bill that would ban antibiotic-resistant strains of Salmonella such as those that have sickened more than 600 people in the ongoing Foster Farms chicken outbreak. The bill would require the USDA to recall meat, poultry, or egg products that are contaminated with bacteria resistant to two or more critically important antibiotics or with bacteria or other pathogens that cause serious illness or death. The bill names Salmonella and Campylobacter as pathogens. Despite Foster Farms products sickening so many people (at least 17,000 with the multiplier), no recall has ever been issued from Foster Farms or the USDA. Seven strains of antibiotic-resistant Salmonella Heidelberg are present in the contaminated … [Read more...]

CSPI Sues USDA over Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Again

A lawsuit filed today by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) charges that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is not protecting the public from dangerous antibiotic-resistant strains of Salmonella in poultry an ground meat. The nonprofit wants the court to force the government to respond to a three-year-old regulatory petition CSPI filed to classify antibitoic-resistant Salmoenlla strains as adulterants. The huge Foster Farms chicken Salmonella outbreak is just one such example of this problem. Seven strains of Salmonella Heidelberg have sickened 574 people in the last year. That actually means that more than 17,000 people have been sickened by that contaminated chicken, using the multiplier for Salmonella, which is 30.3. Furthermore, four of those seven strains are … [Read more...]

Feinstein and Durbin Ask USDA to Address Poultry Contamination

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Representative Dick Durbin (D-IL) sent a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack this week, asking him to develop strong performance standards for poultry products to reduce foodborne illnesses. Both Campylobacter and Salmonella should be addressed in the new standards, according to the letter. The USDA is going to publish a new Salmonella standard for poultry parts by September 2014, and for ground poultry products by the end of the year. But the government does not have a timeline for establishing Campylobacter standards for those products. And the recent CDC Food Safety Progress Report states that there has been a 13% increase in Campylobacter infections in the U.S. from 2008 to 2013. The letter states that "it … [Read more...]

Foster Farms Chicken Salmonella Outbreak Grows to 524 Sick

The huge and long-lasting Foster Farms chicken Salmonella outbreak has now sickened at least 524 people in 25 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Using the multiplier of 30.3, that means that at least 15,877 people nationwide have been sickened by the poultry produced by Foster Farms. Most of the ill persons (76%) live in California. The outbreak case count by state is: Alaska (1), Arkansas (1), Arizona (24), California (399), Colorado (9), Connecticut (1), Delaware (1), Florida (4), Hawaii (1), Idaho (5), Illinois (1), Kentucky (1), Louisiana (1), Michigan (4), Missouri (5), North Carolina (1), Nevada (10), New Mexico (2), Oregon (13), Puerto Rico (1), Tennessee (1), Texas (12), Utah (4), Virginia (4), Washington (17), and Wisconsin (1). These … [Read more...]

New Foster Farms Chicken Salmonella Outbreak Update

The year-long investigation into the multi-state Salmonella outbreak linked to Foster Farms chicken has just been updated by the CDC. As of February 28, 2014, 481 people have been infected with seven outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg, an increase of 51 in the last six weeks. Those sickened live in 25 states and Puerto Rico. Thirty-eight percent of ill persons have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported. Most of the ill persons live in California. The outbreak by state is as follows: Alaska (1), Arkansas (1), Arizona (22), California (365), Colorado (9), Connecticut (1), Delaware (1), Florida (4), Hawaii (1), Idaho (5), Illinois (1), Kentucky (1), Louisiana (1), Michigan (3), Missouri (5), North Carolina (1), Nevada (10), New Mexico (2), Oregon (10), Puerto Rico (1), … [Read more...]

More Salmonella in Chicken Parts Than Whole Chickens

The USDA is saying that Salmonella rates in young chickens have dropped 75% since 2006. But at the same time, rates of Salmonella infections in people that are linked to chicken have not decreased. More than a million Americans are sickened by Salmonella in poultry every year. There is a good reason for this: the Salmonella rate is measured on whole chickens, not parts. And more people buy chicken parts, which are more likely to be contaminated, than whole chickens. The current Salmonella outbreak linked to Foster Farms chickens found that 24% of the chicken parts products were contaminated with at least one strain of Salmonella. That is three times the rate of contamination on whole chickens and equivalent to the over rate of chicken part contamination in the marketplace. In … [Read more...]

Food & Water Watch Skewers USDA Again on Salmonella Plans

Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Watch, has responded to USDA's claims that their email telling inspectors to not interfere with industry collection of Salmonella data was appropriate. In a statement she said that, "what was troubling about the email was that it told the district managers that the purpose of the data collection was for the industry to develop its own voluntary pathogen performance standards that it was going to enforce on poultry processing plants. It went on to say that FSIS inspection personnel assigned to the plants were not to interfere with the National Chicken Council data collection and that they had no right to look at the data that was collected. "In other words, the poultry industry would create the standards for pathogen levels in … [Read more...]

After Salmonella Outbreak, Foster Farms Plant Reopens

A Foster Farms plant associated with a Salmonella outbreak that sickened more than 400 people reopened today after a brief closure. The plant in Livingston, CA resumed operations this morning. The plant, one of three Foster Farms facilities associated with a Salmonella Heidelberg outbreak that sickened at least 430 people in 23 states and Puerto Rico, remained open for most of the time the outbreak was ongoing. The outbreak, one of two linked to Foster Farms last year, began in March and was announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  in October. On January 16, the agency said the outbreak was likely over. On January 8, about one week before the CDC said the outbreak had ended, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS) … [Read more...]

USDA Tells Staff Not to Interfere with Poultry Industry Voluntary Pathogen Reduction Effort

Food & Water Watch has obtained an internal email by the USDA regarding a new data collection effort by the National Chicken Council. According to the email, The National Chicken Council is spearheading an effort to "collect samples from chicken parts from most all poultry establishments in order to collectively work on voluntary pathogen reduction performance goals that the industry will self-impose using their own industry-wide aggregate data." The email, dated January 17, 2014 and sent to USDA-FSIS district managers, states that the USDA approves of the National Chicken Council effort and does not want in-plant USDA-FSIS inspectors and field supervisors to question this effort or to take steps to force poultry processing plants to turn over the results of the sampling.  The email … [Read more...]

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