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Stop Foodborne Illness

Public Supports Stronger Poultry Safety Standards, New Poll Shows

The Stop Foodborne Illness Poll demonstrates bipartisan consumer support, according to the organization.

January 28, 2022

CHICAGO — The voting public says it's time to strengthen food safety regulations to protect consumers, according to a Stop Foodborne Illness poll.

This poll comes after the Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced its intent to strengthen poultry Salmonella standards.

Salmonella is a top cause of foodborne illness in the United States. Chicken and turkey are major contributors to Salmonella illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


Current USDA rules have failed to reduce Salmonella illness rates from previous decades, said Stop. Salmonella standards haven't been meaningfully updated for over 25 years, even though scientific knowledge to prevent Salmonella illnesses has advanced. Current regulations do not effectively target the riskiest Salmonella found in poultry, nor do they optimize proven tools to prevent and control the bacteria likeliest to make people sick, according to Stop.

"Current USDA standards are scientifically outdated and not enforceable," Stop CEO Mitzi Baum said. "Poultry contaminated with Salmonella in violation of USDA's current 'performance standards' can still be sold with USDA's 'mark of inspection.'"


This national poll, sampling one thousand diverse registered voters, asked if the USDA should impose stricter regulations on poultry production to reduce Salmonella and other illnesses. Key findings include:

  • High awareness of the problem: 87% of voters know about Salmonella poisoning and illnesses related to contaminated poultry.
  • Very broad, bipartisan support for stricter standards: 86% of voters favor stricter standards, 89% of Democrats, 84% of Independents and 84% of Republicans.
  • Equally broad support for enforceable standards: 86% support prohibiting sale of products failing to meet safety standards, 88% of Democrats, 82% of Independents and 86% of Republicans.
"Consumers want to trust that the food they eat is safe," saidBaum. "We applaud USDA Secretary Vilsack for initiating this reform process. Leadership now needs to be courageous, focusing on real action that significantly reduces Salmonella illnesses and deaths."


"Action can't wait," said Stop board member Amanda Craten. In 2013, Craten's 18-month-old son Noah was one of the youngest victims of the multi-state Foster Farms Salmonella outbreak. The disease seeded in his brain. A life-saving craniotomy removed large abscesses that would have killed him. His family has since spent years providing intensive therapy for his post-illness issues, including sensory motor deficits and learning, language and cognitive disorders. He still struggles at age 9.

"The USDA must act now to enact enforceable standards to prevent these illnesses and deaths," said Craten.