2003, just-food.com: E. coli contamination
is on the decline according to a recent statement by
the United States Department of Agriculture. Reports
show US food safety inspectors have been finding a much
lower insidences of E. coli contamination in ground
beef products this year than last year.
The USDA credits the drop to increased inspections
of US beef plants, following the record amount of meat
recalled last year.
"The agency's sampling data suggests that initiatives
begun in the past year are beginning to pay dividends,"
Garry McKee, administrator of the USDA's Food Safety
and Inspection Service, was quoted by Reuters as saying.
Of 4,432 beef samples tested in the first eight months
of this year, 0.32% tested positive for E. coli 0157:H7,
compared to 0.78% reported for the whole of 2002.
E. coli can cause nausea and diarrhoea, but the bacteria
is destroyed if meat is cooked to at least 160 degrees
The USDA said there had been 45 meat recalls during
the first eight months of this year, compared to 76
recalls in the year-ago period.