Food Safety

CSPI pushes for policies to keep our food supply free of dangerous contaminants like Salmonella and E. coli, and to curb the use of dyes and poorly tested additives.


The Center for Science in the Public Interest’s food safety program promotes better laws, regulations, and industry practices for protecting consumers from the many dangerous pathogens, contaminants and additives that find their way into our food.


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. 

Image from:

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.

Image from:


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 is also urging the FDA to ban the retail sale of concentrated bulk caffeine, which has resulted in deaths.  Read more.


Quorn is the brand name of meat substitutes that are made from a vat-grown fungus.  Some people have dangerous allergic reactions to the fungus and suffer nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and occasionally hives or difficulty breathing.  CSPI has urged the FDA to take Quorn off the market.  Consumers can file adverse reaction reports hereRead more.