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USDA Bans Six More E.coli Strains From Ground Beef

September 19, 2011 | No Comments →

In an effort to safeguard the food supply and prevent foodborne illness, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced last week that six additional serogroups of pathogenic E. coli will be declared adulterants in non-intact raw beef.

Current regulations ban the sale of ground beef containing E. coli O157:H7, a virulent strain of bacteria that has caused death, illnesses and the recall of millions of pounds of ground beef and other products.

But, as a result this new action, the USDA will also ban the sale of ground beef containing any of a half-dozen additional E. coli strains –which are known as the “Big Six non-057s” and which can also cause severe illness and death.

“The impact of foodborne illness on a family can be devastating,” said Under Secretary Elisabeth Hagen. “Consumers deserve a modernized food safety system that focuses on prevention and protects them and their families from emerging threats. As non-O157 STEC bacteria have emerged and evolved, so too must our regulatory policies to protect the public health and ensure the safety of our food supply.”

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) will begin testing for these six serogroups of STEC and enforcing the new policy on March 5, 2012.

Not everyone supports these new regulations.


USDA Expects Third Largest Corn Crop and Yield on Record

October 18, 2010 | No Comments →

Earlier this month, the US Department of Agriculture released its World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE), and the new figures reflect the third-largest corn crop and yield on record.

WASDE forecasts 12.7 billion bushels with an average yield of 155.8 bushels per acre. (As a point of reference, in 2008, the United States produced 12.1 billion bushels with an average yield of 153.9 bushels per acre.)

According to the US Grains Council, increased consumption for ethanol use resulted in the simultaneous creation of more than 30 million metric tons of distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS), a high-value feed product for domestic and international livestock producers. Although analysts initially projected 2010 exports of 6.2 million tons of DDGS, they now expect that amount will be surpassed this calendar year as the United States gears up to export approximately 8 million tons. China, which already has captured more than 2.5 million tons of US DDGS this calendar year, is anticipated to increase to more than 3 million tons in 2011. (more…)