Since October, an outbreak of antibiotic-resistant salmonella in chicken has left nearly 450 people sick in 23 states. No deaths have been reported so far, but dozens have been hospitalized.
This recent outbreak has put food safety under the microscope—again—with calls for tougher inspection measures even as the government begins reforming food safety rules.
"Our current approach to salmonella outbreaks is not working," said Sandra Eskin, director of the food safety project at the Pew Charitable Trust.
Pew released a report last week citing "serious weaknesses" in the Department of Agriculture's oversight of the country's poultry plants.
"We have old statutes that govern meat and poultry, like not being able to mandate a recall of a product," Eskin said. "The laws don't take what happens to public health into effect."
That antibiotic-resistant bacteria caused the outbreak is a source of concern.
"It's the most alarming issue," said Emelie Peine, a global food economist at the University of Puget Sound in Washington. "It's a crisis of food and health coming together. We have the overuse of antibiotics in animals and then the result of contaminated food."