Cattlemen Issue Comment on USDA's Broadening its Rule on E. Coli
Wednesday, September 14th, 2011
Bo Reagan, National Cattlemen's Beef Association senior vice president of Research, Education and Innovation and chairman of the Beef Industry Food Safety Council (BIFSCo) membership organization issued the following statement regarding the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) announcement today, Sept. 13, 2011, to declare six strains of non-O157 shiga toxin-producing E. coli (non-O157 STECs) an adulterant and to require testing for the six strains beginning March 5, 2012.
"The members of BIFSCo have long had a commitment to provide the foundation for producing a safe and wholesome food supply.
"This is consistent with our industry's history and our long-term efforts to continually improve. The industry has come together to gain knowledge and close gaps in science because to our industry, safety is not a competitive issue.
"BIFSCo's membership appreciates the work of the checkoff-funded Blue Ribbon Task Force in 2010-2011. This group of industry representatives gathered as much information as possible from scientists, government agencies and industry in order to gain knowledge about these organisms and is providing the information to the industry as a whole.
"As we all work to close knowledge gaps related to emerging pathogens, we today find ourselves dealing with emerging regulation with USDA's announcement. Because of the industry's knowledge and experience in addressing E. coli O157, we have a great foundation of science to move forward with this emerging pathogen.
"As an industry-recognized leader, the BIFSCo membership will rapidly move forward gathering together individuals from all sectors of the industry to determine concerns and questions we have with the proposal as well as to develop plans to implement the new testing requirements.
"We will continue working with scientists and government officials to ensure all regulations are based on the latest knowledge, sound science and risk assessment so we can all play an important role in the safety of food."
National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA)