September 15, 2011


USDA to expand tests on meat



Government officials from the USDA will now test up to seven strain of E. Coli for meat to hasten recalls of infection.


For 17 years, the meat industry has been required to test for the common O157:H7 strain of the pathogen but other strains have been found in food in recent years which caused about 110, 000 illnesses annually, the federal Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said.


Food safety advocates and meat industry representatives briefed on the decision say the meat companies will begin testing for six additional strains in beef trimmings -- parts of the cow that end up in ground beef -- in March and may later expand to ground beef and other meats. The Agriculture Department is expected to announce the new tests today.


The meat industry immediately opposed the move, saying it is too expensive to do the tests and there isn't enough benefit.


According to James Hodges, executive vice president of the American Meat Institute USDA will spend millions of dollars testing for these strains instead of using those limited resources toward preventive strategies that are far more effective in ensuring food safety.

Video >

Follow Us