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DeLauro E. coli Bill Draws from Tester Bill

When you copy somebody else’s work, it is called plagiarism.  One

exception to that rule, however, is when one Congressman or Senator

takes language from a colleague’s bill and inserts it into one of his or

her own.   Then it’s called one of the highest forms of flattery.

If so, Sen. Jon Tester, D-MT, should be feeling pretty good about the E.

coli Traceability and Eradication Act introduced July 29 by

Congresswoman Rosa L . DeLauro, D-CT, because parts of its appear to

duplicate his Meat Safety & Accountability Act” (S. 3163) introduced

last spring.

John Munsel, who helped draft Tester’s bill for R-CALF, the powerful

independent cattlemen’s group, said areas of the DeLauro bill that

duplicates Tester’s include:

-Page 3:  Lines 16 through Page 4 Line 17:  Discussion of the need for a Traceback to the Origin

-Page 10:  Lines 16 – 24:  (a) Discussion of Tracebacks to the Origin,

and (b) “Enteric” bacteria, a term which has suddenly become well known

in food safety circles, and on Capitol Hill.

-Page 11:  Lines 4 – 10:  Definition of the term “Enteric” bacteria

-Page 11:  Lines 14 & 15:  Use of the term “Contaminated”, which is

an essential part of Senator Tester’s Bill. (In the absence of this

term, USDA could ignore Salmonella-laced meat, since Salmonella is not

classified as an “Adulterant”, but is a mere contaminant.  The agency

could care less that 10 times as many deaths are caused annually from

Salmonella than from E.coli.  USDA has made E.coli a politically

incorrect pathogen, while classifying Salmonella as a relatively

feckless bacteria.)

-Page 12:  Lines 7, 13 & 17:  Uses the term “Contaminated”

-Page 13:  Line 3:  Uses the term “Contaminated”

-Page 13:  Lines 16-20:  Uses the term “At the time of sample

collection”:  Same terminology as found in Senator Tester’s bill, and

absolutely essential to prevent USDA from delaying evidence which will

constitute incontrovertible evidence of the source, IN A TIMELY FASHION.

-Page 13:  Lines 21 – 25:  Discusses joint certification of the source

of meat being tested, to be certified by (a) the USDA inspector, and (b)

by a plant representative.  

-Page 14:  Lines 1 – 11:  Discusses (a) Tracebacks to the Origin, and (b) “contamination”

-Page 14:  Line 12 – 21:  Discusses the need for the agency to collect

additional samples for at least 15 consecutive days subsequent to the

lab’s identification of a meat sample which is positive for E.coli

and/or Salmonella.

DeLauro says her bill  “will require stricter testing procedures for

meat and processing facilities with the goal of completely eradicating

the dangerous Shiga toxin-producing E. coli bacteria, and establishing a

tracking procedure that will enable the USDA to implement faster

recalls should any be found to be contaminated.”

Tester’s bill would require USDA to trace contaminated meat all the way back to the  source.

Munsell, who serves as the chair of R-CALF USA’s Hazard and Analysis

Critical Control Points  (HACCP) Committee, says he could not endorse

DeLauro’s bill as is, but believes that its reliance on much of the

language in the Tester bill give the Montana senator’s work additional


The Tester bill would require USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service

to trace contaminated meat back to the original source of contamination–the

facility that actually slaughtered the animal from which the

contaminated meat was derived–and would put a halt to the current

practice of holding smaller, downstream processors accountable for the

unsanitary conditions in upstream slaughtering facilities.

Munsell argues he was in just such a position when he operated a small

plant in Montana that was receiving contaminated beef from a much larger

plant in Greeley, CO that FSIS choose to ignore.

Munsell believes the two bills are making the House and Senate aware of USDA’s:

1) opposition against tracebacks to the source,

(2) lackadaisical actions against enteric bacteria,

(3) classifying lethal Salmonella as mere contaminants,

 (4) subtle delay of evidence gathering until the trail of evidence has turned cold,

(5) unwillingness to allow inspectors to jointly document evidence with plant officials, and

(6) the agency’s jettisoning its previous requirement of numerous and timely collection of subsequent samples.

“All six of these areas could produce separate chapters in a book, which

we may very well see in the future as the truth comes out.” Munsell

says.  “USDA’s deregulated meat non-inspection of the large slaughter

plants is a scandal with international implications, and it’s being


© Food Safety News
  • hhamil

    Thanks for publishing John Munsell’s observations and opinions.

  • Harry Hamil

    Thanks for publishing John Munsell’s observations and opinions.