In Washington, the ranking member of the House Rules Committee is also the only microbiologist serving in Congress today, and New York’s Congresswoman Louise Slaughter may be the only voice in either the House or Senate that comprehends the serious dangers to Americans that food – contaminated food – face today.
Congresswoman Slaughter released a statement to the press this week after 14 people across the Northeast ate ground beef sold by a Maine grocery store chain and become infected with a form of Salmonella (Salmonella typhimurium) that is resistant to most antibiotics.
Slaughter has also written a proposed law, the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA), that would end the use of antibiotics in livestock of medically important antibiotics for other than therapeutic reasons.
“When we go to the grocery store to pick up dinner, we should be able to buy our food without worrying that what we put on our plates is exposing our families to dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacteria. How much longer is the federal government going to wait before waking up to the public health threat, looming quite literally, under our noses? We have a duty to protect the public health, and frankly the foot-dragging we are seeing on this issue here in Washington is legislative malpractice.
“If an animal is sick, it should be treated. But the routine, regular dosing of antibiotics to healthy animals is absolutely contributing to the rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria. It would be like a mother sprinkling antibiotics on their son or daughter’s Cheerios every morning to prevent them from getting sick. It’s ridiculous. We must act now or we will continue to see more and more cases like this as we diminish the effectiveness of life-saving medications.”
Bacteria That Antibiotics Cannot Stop: Public Health Danger
The form of Salmonella that was discovered in the ground beef sold by the Maine grocery stores has been shown to cause gastroenteritis in humans and typhoid in mice. It’s an important issue to stop injecting antibiotics into cattle willy-nilly: that is a food danger.
However, food poisoning from bacteria found in food across the United States is a much bigger issue than this single kind of bacteria or just being more careful about ground meat. Food safety is a big problem here in America, and right now what most victims must do for justice is to file a claim or lawsuit based upon negligence, strict products liability, or breach of warranty. Unfortunately, some of these claims must be pursued as part of a wrongful death case.
New York Times and Others Demanding Federal Action
This past weekend, the New York Times publicly demanded that the White House’s Office of Management and Budget release final food safety rules, and in doing so the New York Times became just one more voice crying out for the need to protect the American consumer from dangerous food.