Food Safety

CSPI pushes for policies to keep our food supply free of dangerous pathogens, fight antibiotic resistance in the food chain, control and label allergens, and curb the use of synthetic dyes and poorly tested additives.




Photo: CDC

CSPI supports policies aimed at keeping our food supply free of dangerous pathogens like Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria.  We led the fight for national legislation that promises safer produce, and whole and processed foods that are regulated by FDA.  Now CSPI is working to bring the same modernizing concepts to the USDA’s oversight of meat and poultry safety. 

Antibiotic Resistance 

Antibiotics are the crown jewel of medicine, but overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture has led to the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in food animals.  As a result, foodborne illnesses in people are becoming harder to treat.  CSPI has called on USDA and FDA to better protect consumers by making it illegal to sell meat and poultry contaminated with antibiotic-resistant Salmonella, and prohibit the non-therapeutic use of medically important antibiotics in food animals.  Read more.


CSPI rates the safety of the most commonly used food additives (see Chemical Cuisine) and lobbies to reform the way food additives are approved as Generally Recognized as Safe, or GRAS, for use in food.  We monitor the science on artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose, and acesulfame-potassium


Red 40, Yellow 5, and other commonly used synthetic food dyes trigger behavioral problems in some children.  CSPI has has spurred companies to remove them and has petitioned the FDA to ban them outright.  Read more.


Caffeine is our most popular drug and the only one widely added to the food supply.  CSPI monitors the levels of caffeine in coffee, teas, colas, and other foods (like maple syrup, chewing gum, and waffles), and has pushed for better labeling. CSPI also urged the FDA to ban the retail sale of concentrated bulk caffeine, which FDA ultimately declared illegalRead more.


CSPI has long been a leader in national efforts to require clear allergen labeling and eliminate unnecessary allergens in foods. We’ve pressed for uniform national allergen labeling requirements from federal agencies and led the charge to ban, reduce, or clearly label specific dangerous allergens, including sulfites, carmine/cochineal, Quorn, and sesame. Read more.