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DeLauro Introduces Meat Testing, Traceability Bill

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), a longtime advocate for more stringent food safety laws, introduced a bill yesterday with the “goal of completely eradicating the dangerous Shiga toxin-producing E. coli bacteria.”

The E. coli Traceability and Eradication Act would set stricter testing procedures for meat companies and establish a tracking procedure to allow the U.S. Department of Agriculture to implement faster recalls in the event that contaminated meat is discovered. 

According to DeLauro’s office, the bill would apply to slaugherhouses and grinding facilites, requiring firms to test ground beef and beef trim multiple times throughout the manufacturing process. All testing would be conducted by an independent, USDA-certified testing facility, including ‘beef trim,’ leftover pieces from larger cuts of meat commonly used in ground beef.

“Should any facilities be producing products that are unsafe for either three consecutive days or ten days throughout a year, the company named will be posted to a list of safety offenders with the USDA,” according to a statement from DeLauro’s office.

The legislation would also set a tracing protocol, allowing the USDA to more easily track the source of contaminated meat by looking up the supply chain. 

“This will allow USDA to recall products more quickly and prevent additional illnesses during an outbreak,” said DeLauro. “Our current food safety system is not doing its job– contaminated meat is still hitting the shelves, and people are still getting sick. This legislation will establish higher standards for food safety and protect the public health.”

Senator Kirsten Gilibrand (D-NY) introduced a similar bill last fall and has since pressured the USDA to regulated non-O157 shiga toxin-producing E. coli.  

© Food Safety News
  • hhamil

    If Ms. DeLauro’s goal is “completely eradicating the dangerous Shiga toxin-producing E. coli bacteria” when is she going to require the FSIS to use it powers to require the isolation of those areas (e.g., feedlots) which are creating them by the billions and introducing them into nature?
    If such a bill has actually been introduced, where are the bill number and a copy of it?

  • Val

    FSIS doesn’t have jurisdiction over feedlots; FDA does. Therefore, Rep. DeLauro’s bill would have to amend the Federal Meat Inspection Act to move jurisdiction over feedlots from FDA to FSIS or it would have to create a new statute granting such power.

  • Harry Hamil

    If Ms. DeLauro’s goal is “completely eradicating the dangerous Shiga toxin-producing E. coli bacteria” when is she going to require the FSIS to use it powers to require the isolation of those areas (e.g., feedlots) which are creating them by the billions and introducing them into nature?
    If such a bill has actually been introduced, where are the bill number and a copy of it?

  • Doc Mudd

    Any assumption that anonymous ‘feedlots’ are the exclusive source of shiga toxin-produceing E. coli bacteria is a reckless assumption, indeed. Dangerously naive, really.
    The proposed legislation recognizes that these bacteria can be sourced from any sort of production site. Hence the emphasis on traceability across the entire food system. Test and trace. Correct and prevent. Repeat as needed until relieved of the problem.
    Effective means of traceability are essential, but these have been resisted most vehemently by self-proclaimed “small producers” whose spokespersons, incidentally, would have us believe that they operate bacteria-free and risk-free. Common sense and grade school biology correctly advise us otherwise.
    And, if these spurious claims were somehow accurate, wouldn’t these ‘small producers’ welcome traceability and rush to be identified for their meritorious service to mankind? Or, do they resist traceability to avoid exposure of the natural truth and the accountability that would occasionally be brought to their own doorsteps, as producers? The answer seems obvious.
    Bring effective testing and traceability to the whole of our 21st Century American food system, to commercial producers large and small. Do it for the benefit of food consumers and their families. Rest assured that producers will adopt safe practices easily enough once they can accurately be held accountable and their marketing claims verified.
    Trust, but verify.
    Now, that’s the smart way to “know your farmer”.