Navigation Links
The USDA 'E. coli Loophole' in Ground Beef: Much Ado About Nothing
Date:11/28/2007

WASHINGTON, Nov. 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Over the past few weeks there has been a flurry of articles about a seemingly diabolical plan between the meat industry and the USDA that permits presumptively positive ground beef and beef trimmings that have failed to be "non-negative" for E. coli O157:H7 (http://www.ehagroup.com/epidemiology/illnesses/e-coli-O157-H7.asp) to be sent for further processing -- which includes cooking to the thermal death stage for all pathogens.

"It is inconceivable to me how this story has gotten as much traction as it has," says Melvin N. Kramer, Ph.D., M.P.H., president of a prominent public health consulting group (http://www.ehagroup.com/publichealth/).

According to Dr. Kramer, the focus of all food safety programs and educational campaigns regarding raw proteinaceous foods (poultry, beef, pork and even fish and shellfish) is proper cooking. Cooking to a thermal death level will kill all harmful or pathogenic bacteria, such as E. coli, salmonella, campylobacter and other pathogens that may be present in these raw foods of animal origin that were never intended to be consumed raw or undercooked.

Therefore, permitting a company that suspects or, in fact, knows that a lot of ground beef or beef trimmings has or may contain E. coli O157:H7 to be able to sell it with appropriate security (at a significant discount) to a different segment of the industry that is under USDA inspection and scrutiny to properly process this product into a ready-to-eat product not only makes perfect sense microbiologically, but it has zero impact on the public's health. As part of the mandatory HACCP program of these "processing or cooking establishments" -- they will be processed at a high enough temperature to kill any and all of the E. coli O157:H7 organisms that may be present.

The recent articles go on to enumerate that some of these products may include "precooked hamburgers, meatloaf, meatballs, crumbled taco meat and other products." An author of one of these articles -- from the Chicago Tribune -- noted: "There is no evidence that 'cook only' meat has directly sickened consumers." Dr. Kramer agrees: "I was pleased to read that. I would add that there is no inferential evidence that any of these products have been involved in any foodborne illnesses."

Many processors that cook meat, as a matter of policy, choose not to purchase any products that test not negative for E. coli O157:H7 and, in fact, require a certificate of analysis showing the negative result. This is purely at the discretion of the individual company. However, Dr. Kramer states, "The circulation of these articles only serve to undermine the good work that is being done by the beef industry -- particularly, at the slaughterhouse level - - utilizing numerous interventions to reduce and eliminate E. coli O157:H7, followed by microbiological testing for product destined for raw hamburger meat, which is serving as a model for other food commodities." He goes on to explain, "That is not to say that there is a zero risk that a consumer will get raw hamburger meat that does contain E. coli O157:H7 and, although, according to USDA regulation, that product is adulterated, the consumer has the responsibility also to cook the product thoroughly to 160 degrees F minimally, wash their hands, and not cross-contaminate between raw beef and ready-to-eat foods -- whether via hands, cutting boards, plates or utensils."

Food safety is clearly a partnership, one that is getting stronger from the farm to the fork. However, all segments -- including consumers -- must do their part. Worrying about whether or not your pre-cooked hamburger or meatball at one time contained E. coli is meaningless. Utilizing a food thermometer to validate your cooking temperatures for all protein foods, as well as constant handwashing and avoidance of cross-contamination between raw and ready-to-eat foods is much more appropriate for the ultimate goal the CDC has set out for all people in their Healthy People 2010 (http://www.healthypeople.gov/) guidelines.


'/>"/>
SOURCE EHA Consulting Group, Inc.
Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Fairbank Farms Voluntarily Recalls 85% Ground Round Beef Patties Sold Fresh from Shaws Due to Possible Health Risk
2. IVCC launches groundbreaking insecticide projects with Bayer and Syngenta
3. Prime Access Creates Groundbreaking Ads Targeting Urban Teens for the White Houses National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign
4. International Law Enforcement Operation Targets Underground Manufacture of Anabolic Steroids
5. Randolph Equities to Break Ground on State of the Art Medical Center in Space Starved Near West Chicago Suburbs
6. UH to Break Ground for New Ahuja Medical Center
7. First Nationwide Class Action Filed on Behalf of Consumers Who Purchased Topps E. Coli Contaminated Ground Beef
8. E. Coli Registry Expanded for Victims of E. Coli Poisoning from Cargill Ground Beef
9. Ground Zero Pharmaceuticals Announces Expansion of Regulatory Consulting Services to South Africa
10. Details of Oregon Wine Regions First Luxury Inn, Spa Revealed at Groundbreaking Ceremony
11. The politics of the playground: lack of athletic skill often means loneliness and peer rejection
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... February 10, 2016 , ... For additional information contact Phyllis ... Pioneering book "Better with Age: The Ultimate Guide to Brain Training" by award-winning author ... memory. The book’s publication date is March 16, 2016. A free review copy ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... February 10, 2016 , ... ... digital self-scheduling readily available to physicians. The integration will enable Allscripts users ... select appointments via Everseat’s free mobile app. , The partnership gives Everseat substantial ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... CA (PRWEB) , ... February 10, 2016 , ... Workrite ... and most versatile series of monitor mounts ever. , “Our goal was to ... and easy to install system that we have ever created.” said Darren Hulsey, Product ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... ... Anxiety of older Americans over steep cost increases of prescription drugs is at ... to The Senior Citizens League (TSCL). Since last fall, TSCL has ... costs. “The implications are chilling, particularly for people with chronic health problems,” says ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... February 09, 2016 , ... Ross A. Clevens, MD, ... to welcome a new addition to their growing practice. Beginning this month, Teresa ... nurse practitioner performing cosmetic procedures including injectables, fillers and laser treatments. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/10/2016)... , Feb. 10, 2016  CVS Health (NYSE: ... people living in Santa Clara County, CA ... B on the Santa Clara University campus. CVS Pharmacy ... to protect patients against the disease. Students at Santa ... to get vaccinated. In addition, anyone who has had ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... , Feb. 10, 2016  Oxis International Inc. (OTC/QB: ... OXS-1550, was described as a "clinical trial triumph" after ... went into complete cancer remission. Daniel ... Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center. --> Daniel ... Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center. --> An ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... 2016  LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, a leading provider ... launch of LexisNexis Provider Performance Monitor , ... and optimize the quality and efficiency of provider ... scores. By measuring provider performance through Provider Performance ... better outcomes, improve the patient experience and reduce ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: