Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) today released the following statement regarding the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) response to the ongoing antibiotic resistant Salmonella outbreak linked to raw turkey products, which has caused more than 160 illnesses and one death across 35 states.
“The public entrusts the USDA to keep our nation’s meat and poultry products safe. That is what makes the ongoing Salmonella outbreak so troubling. Congress and the public have no indication that the USDA is any closer to resolving this outbreak today than they were nearly one year ago when the first illness was reported. Instead of providing more information—like naming implicated plants—the USDA has attacked consumer safety advocates for seeking answers. That is wrong, and it is not the type of behavior a government agency or its employees should be engaged in.”
“This outbreak is just another example of the USDA putting corporate interests over the health of American families. That is why I have long advocated for changes to food safety law that would define antibiotic-resistant Salmonella as an adulterant in poultry products. Congress needs to act on this bill immediately. More than that, with Thanksgiving just one week away, the public deserves transparency from the USDA and to know if their families are being put at risk.”
DeLauro’s legislation, the Pathogen Reduction and Testing Reform Act, would strengthen the ability of the USDA to keep Americans safe from contaminated meat, poultry, and eggs. Among other reforms, the bill would define Salmonella strains that are associated with serious illness or death, or that are drug-resistant, to be an adulterant in poultry. This change in definition would subject such contaminated products to the USDA’s mandatory recall authority.