Dog & Pony Show
The United States Department of Agriculture and the American Meat Institute are at odds when it comes to the USDA’s recent announcement that the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the USDA will begin classifying six strains of non-O157 E.coli as ‘adulterants’ when found in ground beef. The disagreement does not stem from the desire to eliminate these toxin producing E.coli completely from the nation’s beef supply, both the USDA and the AMI share that desire. No, the issue that the AMI has with the USDA’s decision is the mere fact that these strains are naturally occurring, the opposite of “adulterants”, and to date have only been responsible for one outbreak involving three illnesses. With the annual number of ground beef servings in the United States being more than one billion it would imply that the USDA is pursuing what will prove to be an expensive witch hunt in an area that already has an excellent safety record. On the other hand, to the general consumer this makes the USDA appear to be the pro-active food safety “hero”, when in reality what they are offering up is nothing more than an old fashioned dog and pony show.