E Coli :: USDA Meat Inspection Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced changes to the nation’s meat inspection program that would result in less inspection and more risk of food borne illnesses for Americans.

The newly-designed policy is set to increase scrutiny of processing plants for the threat of E. coli and other germs. Following the initial inspection, the plants with fewer risks of germs will be inspected less often. The motive behind the RBI is to prevent outbreaks before it erupts.

“Far from being a sound use of science or an efficient use of limited resources, risk based inspection means one thing for consumers ? more risk and less protection,” said Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter.

Of the 291 plants in the new program, 46 percent produce ground beef or ready-to-eat meats, products considered high risk for contamination and commonly fed to children. The plan assigns teams of inspectors to groups of plants, 11 to 89 percent of which produce the kind high-risk product that have been subjected to recent recalls for under processing and Salmonella contamination.

Meat inspectors have complained that they are encouraged by supervisors to issue verbal warnings to companies instead of filing reports on violations, leaving no data trail.

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