May 29, 2014 — The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CPSI) has filed a lawsuit (PDF) against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for delaying action to protect consumers from an ongoing outbreak of antibiotic-resistant Salmonella on Foster Farms chicken.
Currently, federal law allows raw chicken to be contaminated with a low level of Salmonella because it can be killed by proper handling and cooking it to an internal temperature of 165ºF. The rules are different for E. coli, which is an adulterant. Food contaminated with E. coli must be recalled.
The CPSI is calling on the USDA to declare several strains of antibiotic-resistant Salmonella as adulterants and make the sale of contaminated meat illegal. The strains have been linked to at least 574 illnesses — and potentially thousands more unreported cases. Almost 40% of victims have been hospitalized, which is about double the normal rate for Salmonella. However, no products have been recalled. In the last two months, 50 new illnesses were confirmed.
The source of the food poisoning outbreak has been traced to three Foster Farms facilities in California — two in Fresno and one in Livingston. Inspectors have documented “egregious” violations of food safety standards on multiple occasions, including “fecal matter on carcasses,” live cockroaches in areas that contact raw chicken, and “poor sanitary dressing practices, insanitary food contact surfaces, insanitary nonfood contact surfaces and direct product contamination.”
Despite these violations, the USDA allowed the facilities to remain open after Foster Farms immediately implemented changes to reduce the amount of Salmonella. It appears that the rates are slowly declining. Major retailers, including Costco and Kroger-owned stores, also took some products off store shelves last year in response to the outbreak.
Do I have a Food Poisoning Lawsuit?
The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting Foster Farms chicken induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been injured by antibiotic-resistant Salmonella, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Food Poisoning Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
Attention Lawyers: We consider a referral from another law firm to be one of the greatest compliments. If your firm is interested in referring us a case or for us to send you a list of previous award judgments and/or average referral fees, please visit the Lawyer Referral section of our website.