Pot Pie Salmonella Infections Reach 174: CDC

ATLANTA -- More than 174 cases of Salmonella poisoning have been linked to Banquet brand pot pies produced by ConAgra Foods, Inc., according to a report by the Center for Disease Control, based here.

The CDC investigation used interviews comparing foods eaten by ill and well persons to narrow the source to ConAgra. Between January 1 and October 12, 2007, at least 174 isolates of Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i:- (pronounced “four five twelve eye minus”) with similar genetic fingerprints have been collected from ill persons in 32 states with ages ranging from less than one year old to more than 87 years old.

CDC is collaborating with public health officials in multiple states across the United States and with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service to investigate an ongoing multi-state outbreak of in humans.
The recent spate of meat product recalls – including ConAgra and the recent Topps incident -- has led to public criticism of the nation’s food safety. Sen. Charles Schumer said Sunday that he plans to introduce legislation to improve federal oversight of meat safety, calling the USDA a “toothless tiger” when it comes to keeping meat safe.

Schumer’s proposed legislation will give the USDA the power to temporarily shut down meat processing plants that repeatedly fail inspections for E. coli bacteria and expand the agency's authority to trace and recall contaminated food.

The legislation would also direct the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to work with other agencies to identify potential biological threats to the food supply and prepare a rapid response plan.
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