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   FSIS Testing Protocol For O157 Comes Under Fire From Rep. Delauro
by Sally Schuff, Feedstuffs.com
Posted: Friday, November 13, 2009 at 9:06AM EST

The recent outbreak of human illness linked to E. coli O157:H7 in ground beef has prompted a challenge of the validity of the sampling and testing regime USDA endorses for testing of beef trim used in ground beef.  

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D., Conn.) has asked the USDA’s Inspector General to investigate the scientific merits of the "N = 60" sampling and testing protocol in the wake of a recall of 545,699 pounds of ground beef by Fairbanks Farms of Ashville, N.Y. USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service approves the N = 60 protocol for testing of beef trim – either to screen for pathogens including O157, or to specifically test for O157, under a new testing requirement announced on July 31. (N = 60 includes pathogen testing of 60 samples from each lot of bench trim, which are cut to include surface tissue. The supplier of the beef trim products can ship product lots that tests negative to downstream grinding plants.)  

In the wake of a recall of 545,699 pounds of ground beef by Fairbanks Farms of Ashville, N.Y., a grinder company that requires verification its raw materials are free of O157, DeLauro has asked USDA Inspector General Phyllis Fong for an investigation of the N = 60.  

To read the rest of this story please go to: Feedstuffs.com


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