JBS S.A., the world’s largest beef producer, has formed a Food Safety and Quality Advisory Team for its American division, JBS USA. Based in Greeley, CO, JBS USA maintains one of the country’s largest beef and pork processing capacities.

The Advisory Team will consist of JBS personnel and six industry experts from Colorado State University, Texas A&M University, and West Texas A&M University. According to a statement from JBS USA, the goal will be to “collaboratively provide technical advice and recommendations to improve food safety efforts at the company.”

“I am confident the expert guidance the Team will provide will allow JBS to improve our current food safety efforts through the development of world-class food safety and quality programs,” Dr. John Ruby, leader and main coordinator of the Advisory Team, said in an interview with Meatingplace yesterday.

Historically, JBS USA’s food safety record has been far from perfect. On April 21, 2009, JBS produced and shipped an estimated 421,280 pounds of beef products that were contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 to its customers around the world. In what became the largest E. coli outbreak of 2009 in the United States, JBS USA’s products sickened at least 23 people in nine states, hospitalizing twelve and leaving two with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).
Victims from two states, Colorado and  Wisconsin, have filed personal injury lawsuits against the meat giant.

JBS, however, hopes the creation of the Food Safety and Quality Advisory Team will help develop and enhance food safety.

“We realized that we needed some additional expertise from the outside to help us become the world-class food safety team we’re trying to be,” Dr. Ruby said. “We’re trying to bring experts in to . . . pick their brains about interventions that might be useful in the packing plant.”