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WASHINGTON, DC-The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) has petitioned the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to declare feces an adulterant in poultry and meat products, leaving them unfit for sale.
The petition also calls for meat to be label as a biohazard, letting consumers know that the products could be contaminated with feces, and therefore foodborne pathogens.
Mindy Kursban, PCRM's staff attorney, said factory-farming practices offer the perfect environment for pathogens such as E. coli 0157:h7, salmonella, and other disease-causing bacteria, to breed and infect.
"The USDA needs to strengthen regulations and warn consumers that poultry and meat often have traces of feces on them," she said. "Under current regulations, people can become ill and even die from eating poultry and meat that passed USDA's inspection because the current inspection system is too weak to protect consumers."
Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate there are 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths linked to foodborne pathogens.