Antibiotic-Resistant Salmonella outbreak comes from unknown source

Media Contacts
Tano Toussaint

Consumer group calls for end to the overuse of antibiotics


On Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced an outbreak of Salmonella from an unknown source, which has so far infected 92 people in 29 states. This strain, Salmonella Infantis, which can be fatal, is resistant to multiple antibiotic treatments. And antibiotic resistance, hastened by the routine overuse of antibiotics on industrial farms, makes treating dangerous foodborne disease outbreaks more difficult.

“Antibiotic-resistant diseases are sickening millions of people every year and farms aren’t doing enough to solve the problem,” said Tano Toussaint, Consumer Watchdog Associate at U.S. PIRG. “To keep consumers safe, we need companies — from burger chains to grocery stores — to stop buying meat raised with routine antibiotic use if we want to stave off a rise in antibiotic-resistant diseases such as this one.”

To pressure top purchasers of meat, we encourage consumers to visit restaurants that serve meat that was not raised on antibiotics. To that end, U.S. PIRG released its “Chain Reaction IV” report and scorecard earlier this week. It ranks America’s 25 largest burger chains on their policies relating to routine antibiotic use in their beef supply chains.

This particular outbreak of antibiotic-resistant Salmonella comes from an unknown source, meaning people eating many different brands of chicken purchased all over the country have reported illnesses. As a result, we suggest that consumers follow the CDC’s advice when handling raw chicken and strictly avoid eating any chicken that is not fully cooked.