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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

FSIS Steps-up to test ammoniated beef products for E. coli O157:H7 – Sometime

According to Meatingplace.com:

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has issued a new directive for inspection program personnel on how to do routine sampling of ammoniated beef products for E. coli O157:H7.

The agency did so in the wake of a Dec. 30, 2009, story in The New York Times, examining the products manufactured by Beef Products Inc. of Dakota Dunes, S.D., which uses ammonia as part of an antimicrobial treatment for trimmings destined to be used in ground beef patties.

Ammoniated beef product is typically intended as a component of raw ground beef and patty products, the agency notes, and so any of it found to have E. coli O157:H7 would be considered adulterated by FSIS. In addition, companies that combine the ammoniated product with other ground beef usually do so because the ammoniated product is treated specifically to raise the pH of the meat and so kill off bacteria.

The agency will begin sampling all ammoniated beef products for E. coli O157:H7 in both slaughter and processing (non-slaughter) establishments, the directive says, although it does not indicate when that sampling will begin. The establishments using the ammoniated beef product are already subject to follow-up sampling under current programs.

My emphasis in bold.  Once again a free and vigorous press prompts the government to act – or, at least say it is going to act.  Stay tuned.