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USDA Announces New Policy to Safeguard Against E. Coli Food Contamination

Consistent with its more proactive approach to food safety announced last year stressing prevention rather than reaction, the U.S Department of Agriculture today announced new steps to protect the nation's food supply from E. Coli bacteria.

Specifically, six additional strains of E. coli bacteria (O26, O103, O45, O111, O121 and O145) will be declared adulterants in raw beef. As a result, raw ground beef, its components, and tenderized steaks found to contain these bacteria will be prohibited from sale to consumers. USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) will launch a testing program to detect these dangerous pathogens and prevent them from reaching consumers. Such testing will be subject to the Department's "test and hold policy" that prohibitis products from being released into commerce until test results for dangerous contaminants are known.

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