From: Willem Marsman
Sent: Tuesday, 27 August 2002 10:07
USDA PLANS CRACKDOWN ON BEEF INSPECTION TOUGHER E.
COLI REQUIREMENTS SLATED
July 24, 2002
The Denver Post
Industry executives were cited as saying Tuesday that for the second
since ConAgra Beef Co. recalled E. coli-tainted meat, the U.S.
Agriculture will change how it polices the beef
The USDA soon will begin declaring unfit for consumption any beef
tested for potentially deadly E. coli if other trims made the same
found to contain the pathogen, according to two industry trade
The trade groups said the new policy stems directly from the USDA's
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
USDA spokesman Steven Cohen was cited as saying no policy shift has
announced about E. coli and beef trimmings, called trim, but that may
as the agency continues to investigate meat recalled from ConAgra's
slaughterhouse, adding, "We're exploring options that we believe
minimize the likelihood of this occurring again."
spokeswoman for the American Meat Institute in Washington,
D.C., was quoted
as saying, "We're concerned that testing for E. coli is
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.
spokesman Jim Herlihy refused to comment about USDA policy shifts as
of the recall.