American Meat Institute Comments on STEC Policy Delay

Wednesday, February 8, 2012
 

Attribute the following comments to James H. Hodges, AMI Executive Vice President

Washington, D.C., February 8, 2012 --The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) decision to delay for 90 days implementing a policy that regulates non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) in certain beef products is a good first step.  As we have maintained since the initial announcement by FSIS, this new policy is not supported by science and likely will not benefit public health. Indeed, USDA’s own actions suggest that this policy should be delayed even longer, as evidenced by the recent announcement of a five year $25 million dollar USDA grant to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to study STEC in beef and provide some of the detailed research regarding analyzing the risks of STEC in the beef supply and developing validated test methods. 

Even with a 90 day delay, imposing this new regulatory program in June puts the cart before the horse and will needlessly cost tens of millions of federal and industry dollars – costs that likely will be borne by taxpayers and consumers.  In short, the policy is not likely to yield a significant public health benefit and given that research should precede and dictate the policy, the process that FSIS has followed in this matter is no way to develop good public policy.   

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