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Casey: Salmonella Outbreak Highlights Need for Better Coordination

August 4, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC–In response to reports of an antibiotic-resistant strain of salmonella that has sickened at least 77 people nationwide, including 5 in Pennsylvania, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) today sent letters to President Obama and U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius urging them to increase coordination among agencies and keep inspectors on the job.

“Because it is my priority to protect the health and safety of Pennsylvanians, I believe that we must keep food safety inspectors doing their jobs,” Senator Casey wrote. “While seeking to better control our economy, we cannot lose control over the safety of our national food supply. We need to give Americans peace of mind that the foods they eat and give to their families are safe to consume. ”

Senator Casey requested an update on the status of enhancing the foodborne illness surveillance network, action required by the Food Safety Modernization Act signed into law earlier this year. Over 300,000 Americans are sent to the hospital for cases of foodborne illness each year, Senator Casey wrote, underscoring the need for improved coordination and continued inspections.

Versions of Senator Casey’s letter to Secretary Sebelius were also sent to U.S. Department of Agriculture

Within the last six months,

Within the last six months, salmonella scenarios have shown up in 26 states. The diseases have made seventy seven people sick. The strain of salmonella, called Salmonella Heidelberg, can be hard to handle. The bacteria are resistant to several medications. The authorities have yet to pin down a reason for this outbreak, though ground turkey is possibly the offender. Resource for this article: 6 month salmonella outbreak still leaving FDA mystified