USDA: Food Safety Improves

Sep 18, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

The US Agricultural Department is saying that its safety inspectors are finding a much lower incidence of ground beef with E.coli than last year.

The department’s figures show it ordered 45 recalls for the first eight months of this year compared to 76 over the same period in 2002.

Garry McKee, administrator of USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, told Reuters, “The agency’s sampling data suggests that initiatives begun in the past year are
beginning to pay dividends.”

Those initiatives include ordering processing plants to reassess food safety systems and ending a program exempting some plants from the agency’s random testing program.

As expected, not all are ready to join the USDA in patting itself on the back.

Felicia Nestor, food safety director for the Government Accountability Project, said she wanted “to look at their (USDA’s) numbers … and make sure that there wasn’t any funny

Moderator’s Comment: What is your reaction to the USDA’s announcement?

Let’s hope the agency had fingers crossed. The announcement sounds like a certain jinx to us. [George
Anderson – Moderator

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