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Protecting Public Health and Preventing Foodborne Illness

Created 1 year ago

USDA continues to protect consumers from the dangers of E. coli contamination by adopting of a zero tolerance policy for six additional strains [E. coli O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, and O145] of the pathogen in raw beef products. Prohibiting them just like to E. coli O157:H7. Enforcement to detect these dangerous pathogens and prevent them from reaching consumers began in March 2012.

USDA expects to prevent as many as 25,000 foodborne illnesses annually thanks to tougher standards set for Salmonella and new standards for Campylobacter which will reduce the occurrence of these pathogens in poultry.

Implementation of a "test and hold" policy in December 2012 prevents the recall of unsafe foods. Facilities are now required to hold product until microbiological testing can determine it is safe to release meat, poultry and egg products into commerce. This policy will significantly reduce consumer exposure to unsafe meat products. The measure would have prevented 44 recalls of unsafe foods between 2007 and 2009.

USDA continues to enhance the Public Health Information System, a modernized, comprehensive database that allows the agency to identify public health trends and food safety violations more effectively at the nearly 6,200 plants where the Food Safety and Inspection Service ensures the wholesomeness of the products produced.

USDA began testing additional components of ground beef, including bench trim, and issued new instructions to employees asking that they verify that plants follow sanitary practices in processing beef carcasses. And we issued consolidated, more effective field instructions on how to inspect for E. coli O157:H7 contamination.

USDA
Questions? 605.335.0825