Meat/Poultry Inspection

Safe Food Coalition Asks for Reforms to Prevent Repeat of STEC Outbreak in Ground Beef

CFA joined other members of the Safe Food Coalition in asking USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to revisit the agency’s requirements for controlling Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (“STEC”) contamination in ground beef, following a recall by Cargill Meat Solutions, Inc. of 132,606 pounds of ground beef products suspected to be contaminated with the STEC E. coli O26. The contaminated product is known to have caused 18 illnesses and one death. The coalition’s letter questions whether FSIS should require companies to do more to address the threat that STECs pose, and in particular, whether the FSIS testing protocol for STECs is adequate. Since 2011, FSIS has considered any product contaminated with one of six STEC strains to be adulterated. However, the agency does not require companies to test for the six STEC strains as it does for E.coli O157:H7, which the agency classified as an adulterant in 1994.

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