According to the USDA/FSIS website, FSIS has decided to increase the number of scheduled raw ground beef product samples for FSIS E. coli O157:H7 testing that it will collect in July. The Agency has taken this action following an increased number of positive Agency E. coli O157:H7 results that occurred within a short period of time in June 2007. The additional sampling should help clarify whether there have been any significant changes in the prevalence of this pathogen in raw ground beef. Therefore, FSIS has sent out an increased number of MT03 sample request forms this month.

Over the last few months there has been a dramatic increase in the number of ill people (at least 50) and in recalls (over 6 million pounds) – see my earlier posts.

An interesting thought – last December some 1,300 undocumented workers in Swift plants in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Texas and Utah were arrested.  I assume that this impacted not only Swift, but other slaughter houses in the US.  I would assume that these plants were “forced” let go many workers who were experienced and were “forced” to hire people with no experience to keep up production.  One wonders if less experienced employees contributed to the increase in E. coli-related illnesses and recalls?