Meat Safety Politics: A Decade of Inaction at USDA on Non-O157 E. coli

In the wake of the horrible E. coli outbreak in Germany, many food safety advocates are calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to get off the dime and expand required beef testing to strains beyond the standard 0157:H7. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approximately 160,000 people in the United States are sickened each year by non-O157 E. coli. Six serotypes, known as the “Big Six” (E. coli O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, and O145) are currently under scrutiny. Far from being a new issue, the evidence for why we need expanded testing has been available for at least 20 years, maybe even 30. According to the petition filed against USDA by the law firm Marler Clark , as early as the 1980s, non-0157 strains were first identified globally. The first outbreaks were reported in the U.S. in the 1990s. What has happened since? Quite a lot, but little of which can be called progress.
You can read the timeline in my article at Food Safety News.

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