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
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
-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
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