From: Willem Marsman []
Sent: Tuesday, 27 August 2002 10:07
To: Karyn Ogier
July 24, 2002
The Denver Post
David Migoya
Industry executives were cited as saying Tuesday that for the second time
since ConAgra Beef Co. recalled E. coli-tainted meat, the U.S. Department of
Agriculture will change how it polices the beef business.
The USDA soon will begin declaring unfit for consumption any beef trims not
tested for potentially deadly E. coli if other trims made the same day are
found to contain the pathogen, according to two industry trade groups.
The trade groups said the new policy stems directly from the USDA's recent
actions against ConAgra.
The agency also is considering whether to declare E. coli a hazard that is
likely to occur during ground-beef production, a move that would force
companies to make production-line changes to ensure that the bacteria don't
get to consumers.
Those changes could mean that a sample of every batch of meat destined to
become ground beef will be tested, the American Meat Institute and the
American Meat Association said.
USDA spokesman Steven Cohen was cited as saying no policy shift has been
announced about E. coli and beef trimmings, called trim, but that may change
as the agency continues to investigate meat recalled from ConAgra's Greeley
slaughterhouse, adding, "We're exploring options that we believe would
minimize the likelihood of this occurring again."
Janet Riley, spokeswoman for the American Meat Institute in Washington,
D.C., was quoted as saying, "We're concerned that testing for E. coli is
misleading the public, giving the impression that testing is a definitive
answer. Testing is helpful, but it won't work to show the safety of the
product. Proper cooking and handling ensures safety."
The story says that at least 32 people in Colorado and six other states were
most likely sickened by ConAgra ground beef, health officials said Tuesday.
Epidemiologists in South Dakota, New Hampshire and Iowa confirmed Tuesday
that DNA from the bacteria that sickened victims in those states was matched
to the recalled meat.
ConAgra spokesman Jim Herlihy refused to comment about USDA policy shifts as
a result of the recall.