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Meat Institute Submits Comments Addressing Costs and Benefits of STEC Testing

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

(North American Meat Institute)

NAMI submitted comments to USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) in response to its analysis of the estimated costs and benefits associated with implementing non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) testing on beef manufacturing trimmings, and the costs and benefits associated with expanding non-O157 STEC testing to include raw ground beef components and ground product. NAMI noted that the notice understates the cost of expanded non-O157 STEC testing, given that it did not include the impact of High Event Programs or the cost associated with not having non-O157 STEC screen methods as highly correlated to current E. coli O157:H7 confirmation methods. The Meat Institute encouraged FSIS to provide aggregate data regarding all STEC (O157:H7 and non-O157) testing to gain information on the market class of livestock and plant size, as well as to determine whether positive tests are verification or follow-up samples. NAMI also indicated that expanded non-O157 STEC testing is unnecessary, given that FSIS has been unable to quantify its benefits for ground beef or components other than manufacturing trimmings.

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