E.coli, salmonella & listeria

The E.coli 0157 bacterium is responsible for many of the tragic food poisonings that have occurred at fast-food restaurants in the past. The bacterium, often found inside the intestines of cattle, can contaminate meat that is improperly processed at slaughterhouses. Illness usually results from eating undercooked and contaminated ground beef. Microbial contamination is monitored and controlled at several places along the production line by a process called the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point system (HACCP). These checkpoints test and compare the amount of microbial contamination in random samples of beef on the processing line to levels that are considered safe.
Industry advocates say one reason for this illness is that consumers are not handling and cooking beef properly. Critics say meat-processing facilities allow too many microorganisms in our food supply, and that the production line speed at slaughterhouses, and the unwillingness to slow it down, are mostly to blame.

Salmonella 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 from 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.

Proposed Legislation: Reintroduction of H.R.4755 - Safe Food Act of 2019
Prospective Sponsor: Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro (CT)

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Poll Opening Date
May 22, 2023
Poll Closing Date
May 28, 2023

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