According to multiple media reports, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is planning to add six types of E. coli bacteria to its list of adulterants that are banned from being sold in raw beef.
The USDA said it will be focusing on six other strains of E. coli that have been found in food in recent years and have made people sick the same way the O157:H7 strain can.
A report by the Wall Street Journal said the new USDA plan was set to take effect in March 2012 after a public comment period.
The American Meat Institute’s James Hodges said that instead of making these E. coli’s illegal, the USDA should have spent the money focusing on “preventive strategies.”
“Imposing this new regulatory program on ground beef will cost tens of millions of federal and industry dollars — cost that will likely be borne by taxpayers and consumers,” AMI said in a statement.
The E. coli O104:H4 recently caused thousands to become ill in Germany recently. However, this strain is absent from the USDA’s list, according to a USA Today report.
“This is a big win for consumers. In the wake of many recent food recalls caused by E. coli contamination, it is critical that we take the necessary steps to protect the health and well being of all consumers,” Ami Gadhia, senior policy counsel for Consumers Union, told USA Today.
Some companies, like Costco, are already requiring suppliers to test for these strains.
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