Food & Water Watch Welcomes New Policy on E. Coli
Statement by Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director, Food & Water Watch
Washington, D.C. – “We applaud today’s announcement by the Obama Administration that it will recognize six additional strains of E. coli as adulterants in beef products. The new policy will apply to both domestic and imported beef products. These six strains – 026, 045, 0111, 0103, 0121 and 0145 – have long been identified by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as causes for food borne illness outbreaks in the United States. Prior to this, only E. coli 0157:H7 was recognized by the USDA as an adulterant in meat products. Earlier this year, the CDC released statistics for 2010 that showed reported illnesses caused by some of these other virulent strains of E. coli exceeded those caused by E. coli 0157:H7.
“Food & Water Watch has supported this policy change since 2007. The USDA first sent a proposal to change the policy in January 2011, but it had been stuck in the Office of Management and Budget due to intense pressure by the meat industry to block it. Thousands of our members sent messages to the White House earlier this summer urging the White House to approve the new policy. While the new policy will not take effect until March 2012, we are gratified that the Obama Administration finally put public health ahead of industry interests by giving the USDA the authority to take action against these other pathogens.”
Contact: Anna Ghosh, aghosh(at)fwwatch(dot)org, 415-293-9905