ALDF Looking for Victims of Antibiotic-Resistant Salmonella Linked to Outbreak in Foster Farms Chicken MeatPosted by Chris Berry, Litigation Fellow on October 10, 2013
Dangerous and apparently antibiotic-resistant strains of salmonella linked to Foster Farms chicken have sickened hundreds of people nationwide. On Monday, October 7, 2013, the Food Safety and Inspection Service estimated that the outbreak sickened 278 people in eighteen states, predominantly in California, Oregon, and Washington State. Affected packages contain raw chicken meat and bear one of the following United States Department of Agriculture marks of inspection: P6137, P6137A, or P7632.
Alarmingly, some of the salmonella strains associated with this outbreak appear to be resistant to antibiotics. USA Today reported that nearly half of the victims had been hospitalized—double the usual number of hospitalizations for this type of salmonella. This increase in hospitalizations is likely caused by the infections not responding normally to antibiotics used to combat salmonella, and can lead to prolonged and heightened suffering in salmonella victims.
Just last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) linked regular overuse of antibiotics on factory farms to the rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria like salmonella:
[T]here are more kilograms of antibiotics sold in the United States for food-producing animals than for people… This use contributes to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in food-producing animals [and] people who consume these foods can develop antibiotic-resistant infections.
This CDC report summarized the strong scientific evidence linking the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms to the rise of antibiotic-resistant infections:
- Use of antibiotics in food-producing animals allows antibiotic-resistant bacteria to thrive while susceptible bacteria are suppressed or die,
- Resistant bacteria can be transmitted from food-producing animals to humans through the food supply,
- Resistant bacteria can cause infections in humans,
- Infections caused by resistant bacteria can result in adverse health consequences for humans.
The report went on to recommend that “antibiotics should be used in food-producing animals only under veterinary oversight and only to manage and treat infectious diseases, not to promote growth.”
Incredibly, most producers in the animal agriculture industry continue to routinely feed antibiotics to their animals to stimulate growth and prevent (rather than cure) disease despite the strong evidence cited by the CDC linking misuse of antibiotics to drug-resistant infections. So far the industry has remained unaccountable for instigating this public health threat.
Do you think the animal agriculture industry should be allowed to intentionally misuse antibiotics to increase profits even though they know it spawns drug-resistant strains of salmonella, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and other life-threatening “superbugs?” Sound off in the comments below, and if you or someone you know has been a victim of drug-resistant salmonella in this outbreak please share your story with ALDF to see how you might help put an end to this practice.
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