Salmonella & listeria
Salmonella and Listeria are bacteria that can be ingested by consuming contaminated food or water. Fecal contamination and improper handling and cooking of food are common sources. Tainted cantaloupes, whose rough skin can harbor the Salmonella bacterium, killed 33 people and sickened 146 across 11 states in 2011. Each year, approximately 42,000 cases of salmonellosis are reported in the U.S. but the actual number of infections may be much higher. The majority of outbreaks over the last two decades have been linked to raw poultry. People infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, a fever and abdominal cramps that usually last for four to seven days. Each Year, Listeria is responsible for causing 2,500 illnesses and the deaths of 500 Americans. The greatest threat of Listeriosis is from ready-to-eat products such as deli meats that do not require further cooking at home. Infection causes swelling in the lining of the small intestine and is treated with antibiotics. However, antibiotic-resistant Salmonella and Listeria are now making treatment more difficult, especially for children. In 2012, the Obama administration, lobbied by the produce industry, terminated the USDA’s Microbiological Data Program (MDP) that had been in operation for more than a decade. It conducted 80% of all federal produce testing for pathogens like Salmonella and Listeria on thousands of samples of fruits and vegetables gathered from 11 distribution centers each year. In its last days, the MDP was credited with averting a possible Salmonella outbreak when it discovered tainted spinach during one of its inspections. The FDA now has jurisdiction over the safety of our fruits and vegetables but this agency only conducts a fraction of the microbiological tests that MDP once did.

Pending Legislation:
H.R.609 - Safe Food Act of 2015

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Poll Opening Date
May 21, 2020
Poll Closing Date
May 27, 2020

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