WASHINGTON – Any ground meat and poultry discovered to contain antibiotic-resistant strains of Salmonella should be recalled from the marketplace or prevented from entering commerce, urges a regulatory petition filed May 25 by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. CSPI wants the US Department of Agriculture to declare four such Salmonella strains as “adulterants” under federal law, making products that contain them illegal to sell.

The four Salmonella strains covered by the petition, Salmonella Heidelberg, Salmonella Newport, Salmonella Hadar, and Salmonella Typhimurium, have all been linked to outbreaks, the group said. Testing for antibiotic-resistant Salmonella in ground meat and poultry should also be done, said CSPI.

USDA already issues recalls of products suspected of being contaminated with Salmonella. The group’s petition urges the agency to establish a testing regime for these pathogens in ground meat and poultry in the same way that it has for E. coli O157:H7. USDA declared a particularly dangerous strain of E. coli an adulterant in 1994.