F.S.I.S. to take action after E. coli O157:H7 recalls

by Bryan Salvage
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WASHINGTON ― Following a spike in the number of beef recalls due to E. coli O157:H7 this year the Food Safety Inspection Service (F.S.I.S.) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it is taking several actions to address the problem. The efforts include increased scrutiny of beef processing plants to ensure that the steps they are taking to control pathogen are effective, and the agency will review its recall policies.

Following the F.S.I.S. announcement, James H. Hodges, president of the American Meat Institute Foundation, the research arm of the trade association, said "the meat industry is committed to producing a safe and wholesome product. Since 2000, E. coli O157:H7 in ground beef has declined by 72%, according to the U.S.D.A. That’s because we have aggressive controls in place throughout the industry that have proven very effective against this pathogen.

"However, systems are not perfect. We will cooperate fully in assessing the efficacy of the many systems in operation and are committed to working with U.S.D.A. to ensure that underlying controls are supported and verified to assure the public that the necessary food safety interventions are in place."

Dr. James O. Reagan, chairman of the Beef Industry Food Safety Council, said that it is unacceptable that even one company was not following commonly accepted safety interventions in place for many years.

"We expect all partners in the beef chain to do their part for food safety and implement these science-based safety interventions," he said.

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