12 Sep '11, 9pm

Food safety breakthrough: USDA declares “Big Six” E. coli strains illegal

Food safety breakthrough: USDA declares “Big Six” E. coli strains illegal

E. coli Photo: Microbe World About a month ago, Food Safety News broke the story that the government was on the verge of action on a much-delayed rule to make several toxic forms of E. coli illegal in meat. And today, the USDA, in particular the director of its Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) Dr. Elizabeth Hagan, came through. You heard that right. Before today, the only form of E. coli that had been banned was H7:O157 -- the strain behind the infamous Jack in the Box outbreak of 1994. There are several other highly toxic forms of E. coli that appear in food, however, including a set of pathogenic Shiga toxin-producing E. coli strains known as the "Big Six." Despite the fact that, as Food Safety News reported in August, the Big Six "cause almost 40,000 illnesses, 1,100 hospitalizations, and 30 deaths annually," it has taken until now for the USDA to make this cha...

Full article: http://www.grist.org/food-safety/2011-09-12-usda-declares...

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