The Meat Industry’s Latest Gift to Humanity: Non-0157 E. Coli

April 30, 2010

Must-read piece from food safety attorney Bill Marler on non-0157 E. coli:

In 2010 there are still lethal strains of E. coli that some parts of our government do not regulate in the food supply. E. coli O157:H7 has been considered an adulterant in food since 1994 by USDA/FSIS, but non–O157 strains, which can be just as devastating, are not. As a result, non-O157 strains of E. coli are not regulated or even regularly tested for in our meat supply.

Currently, there are two separate outbreaks emerging involving the non-O157 strains E. coli O1111 and E. coli O145. More than 50 people have fallen ill since April 7th although neither has yet been linked to a specific food product.

Like their notorious counterpart E. coli O157:H7, E. coli serogroups O26, O111, O145, and others have truly become a major public health problem. Annually in the United States they account for 37,000 illnesses and 30 deaths.

It gets worse if you keep reading—and, surprise, surprise, the USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service is dragging its heels in dealing with the problem. Link.

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