Log in Subscribe Join Grass Roots Action

AMI Tells Ag Secretary It Opposes Expansion of FSIS E. coli Policy

Monday, March 31, 2008

(American Meat Institute)

AMI President and CEO J. Patrick Boyle today wrote Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer expressing concern about a recent Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announcement regarding a public meeting on E. coli policy scheduled for April 9-10, 2008.

Boyle expressed particular concern about a statement that “FSIS will discuss growing evidence that may support a determination that raw beef products such as primal cuts and boxed beef contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 are adulterated.”

“That FSIS is contemplating further expanding its policy concerning when the presence of E. coli O157:H7 (E. coli) renders a beef product adulterated is extremely troubling and is unsupported by science or the law,” Boyle said.

FSIS policy that the presence of  E. coli in raw ground beef or in the inputs used to produce raw ground beef  makes the product “adulterated” dates back to 1994.  The policy was founded on concerns about the nature of E. coli and the fact that “consumers traditionally consume ground beef in a manner insufficient to destroy the E. coli pathogen.”

Commenting on the announcement and the implication that intact primal cuts and boxed beef products could be deemed to be adulterated if they test positive for E. coli, Boyle said that “Such a change would conflict with longstanding agency policy and is inconsistent with the rationale underlying the formulation and implementation of the current policy.  He also noted that AMI is “unaware of any incidents in which intact primal cuts or boxed beef products in that form have been the cause of human illness.”

To view a copy of Boyle’s letter in its entirety, click here: http://www.meatinstitute.org/storylinks/2008/Schaferletter.pdf

 share on facebook  share on twitter