The U.S. Department of Agriculture is considering whether or not to expand its non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) testing to include ground beef and ground beef components beyond beef manufacturing trimmings. This week, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) posted its analysis of estimated costs and benefits associated with implementing the additional testing. Testing of beef manufacturing trimmings currently costs about $1.37 million each year and adding in raw ground beef, bench trim and other components would add $1 million. The $2.37 million total would break down into $1.38 million is for FSIS and just under one million for the industry. The argument for increased testing is that would reduce illnesses and deaths, reduce outbreak-related recalls and improve business practices. FSIS concluded that these benefits to industry, government and consumers would result in net economic benefits, but the agency was unable to quantify them. When FSIS announced that it was implementing non-O157 STEC testing of beef manufacturing trimmings in 2012, it stated that the agency would update the Sept. 2011 economic analysis on the effects of the testing. The agency is now requesting comments on the updated analysis and says it will consider them all before deciding whether to expand its non-O157 testing to include additional products. If FSIS decides to expand the testing, it would announce the decision in the Federal Register before implementation.