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W.P :U.S. farmers, processors not required to test for deadly E. coli strain


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The bacterium that has killed more than a dozen Europeans, sickened nearly 2,000 more and raised international alarms would be legal if it were found on meat or poultry in the United States.

If the bacterium were to contaminate fruits or vegetables grown here, there would be no way to prevent an outbreak, because farmers and processors are not required to test for the pathogen before the food heads to supermarkets.

“If somehow this strain got into that same environment and spread rapidly, it would represent a major disaster in terms of the U.S. food industry and risk to humans,” said J. Glenn Morris, a former official with the U.S. Department of Agriculture who directs the Emerging Pathogens Institute at the University of Florida. “The regulatory framework is a couple of steps behind.”

The strain that has emerged in Europe is a particularly virulent version of E. coli 0104 and, in the outbreak that began in early May, has been linked to more than 1,600 illnesses and 18 deaths. About 500 people — an unusually large percentage of those who have been sickened — have developed a life-threatening kidney complication known as hemolytic uremic syndrome, for which there is no treatment.

European health officials are unsure what caused the outbreak, making it difficult to stop its spread. Initial suspicions centered on cucumbers grown in Spain, but laboratory tests showed that the cucumbers were contaminated with a version of E. coli that did not match the strain in the outbreak.

Officials at the USDA and the Food and Drug Administration acknowledge that new strains of the bacterium are a serious concern, but regulators in the United States have focused largely on a related but more notorious version, E.coli 0157.

USDA officials said they have been studying the extent of new and emerging strains of E. coli in meat, the practicality of testing for them and whether to ban them. At the FDA, which has never required testing produce for the bacteria, officials are working on new standards that might include such testing.

“In the wake of this current outbreak, we have to examine how we can best protect consumers from this and other emerging pathogens,” a USDA spokesman said.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/two-us-e-coli-cases-tied-to-european-outbreak/2011/06/02/AGoNkOHH_story.html

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Well, why not? Shouldn't we be protected from this deadly strain?

Because the people that run or did run the USDA and the FDA and other regulatory bodies are former executives of the meat-packing giants or other agribusiness firms like Monsanto that don't want to spend money are silly things like not poisoning people.

Give me a minute, i'll get names.

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It's really not practical or logical to require farmers and food processors to test for e. coli. There are other activities downstream from theirs (handling in supermarkets, handling at home, cross-contamination at home) that pose a significant risk of e. coli contamination. If you really want to test the risk out of this, you'd need to regulate supermarkets (including stockers, cashiers and baggers) and people in their homes.

The best preventive measure is to handle/store/inspect/wash your produce properly.

Check this link for more info:

http://www.ota.com/organic/foodsafety/ecoli.html

---------- Post added June-3rd-2011 at 11:50 AM ----------

Because the people that run the USDA and the FDA are formally the heads of the meat-packing giants like Monsanto that don't want to spend money are silly things like not poisoning people.

Give me a minute, i'll get names.

How is it that any thread related to science devolves into conspiracy theories about how food and drug companies are actually tying to kill the people who pay their salaries? :doh:

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Because the people that run or did run the USDA and the FDA and other regulatory bodies are former executives of the meat-packing giants or other agribusiness firms like Monsanto that don't want to spend money are silly things like not poisoning people.

Give me a minute, i'll get names.

Simple logic dictates that consumers be protected from bacteria, and then this crap happens where US Farmers are "not required" to test, it's ridiculous.

And Monsanto is a horrible company but I'm not going to derail this thread on them ruining farming or putting farmers out of business.

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It's really not practical or logical to require farmers and food processors to test for e. coli. There are other activities downstream from theirs (handling in supermarkets, handling at home, cross-contamination at home) that pose a significant risk of e. coli contamination. If you really want to test the risk out of this, you'd need to regulate supermarkets (including stockers, cashiers and baggers) and people in their homes.

The best preventive measure is to handle/store/inspect/wash your produce properly.

Check this link for more info:

http://www.ota.com/organic/foodsafety/ecoli.html

---------- Post added June-3rd-2011 at 11:50 AM ----------

How is it that any thread related to science devolves into conspiracy theories about how food and drug companies are actually tying to kill the people who pay their salaries? :doh:

Because when meat processing plants that deal all day with shredding carcasses that came straight from **** filled feed lots arent required to test for bacterial contaimination, a reasonable person asks why?

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Some examples:

Mickey Cantor

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mickey_Kantor

Secretary of Commerce 1996-1997

Monsanto Board of Directors 2000-2002

Margaret Miller

http://www.smart-publications.com/articles/view/lies-and-deception-how-the-fda-does-not-protect-your-best-interests/

Monsanto lab supervisor 1985-1989

FDA Branch Chief 1989-present

Clarance Thomas was formerly a Monsanto attorney.

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Because when meat processing plants that deal all day with shredding carcasses that came straight from **** filled feed lots arent required to test for bacterial contaimination, a reasonable person asks why?

Testing meat I get - produce though is another story. In my response I was talking about just produce, but on re-reading it that is not clear. Sorry about that!!!

I believe that meat processors do test for e. coli, but not this strain (0157 is the one they look for I think). I don't know that much about e. coli, but it's possible that the two strains are related enough that assaying for one could detect the other. But that's another discussion.

As far as the e. coli outbreak in Europe, the vector is produce not meat, right? So the first question is where this deadly strain is being introduced.

Again I don't know that much about it, but some ideas would be fertilizer, people (at the farm, the plant, the store or the home), or in transit.

If you want to eliminate the chance of introduction on the farm or in the processing plant, you might want to look into irradiation. If this strain can be killed that way, it is a good stop-gap measure.

---------- Post added June-3rd-2011 at 12:08 PM ----------

Some examples:

Mickey Cantor

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mickey_Kantor

Secretary of Commerce 1996-1997

Monsanto Board of Directors 2000-2002

Margaret Miller

http://www.smart-publications.com/articles/view/lies-and-deception-how-the-fda-does-not-protect-your-best-interests/

Monsanto lab supervisor 1985-1989

FDA Branch Chief 1989-present

Clarance Thomas was formerly a Monsanto attorney.

Does this prove anything? No.

It's no coincidence that scientists in an industry move from regulatory agencies to companies and vice versa. After all, that is their area of expertise right?

The notion that they frivolously disregard the health of customers is just plain wrong. Why would you not want to keep people spending money on your products?

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Linda Fisher

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linda_Fisher

VP for public affairs for Monsanto 1995-2000

EPA deputy adminstrator 2000-2003

Michael Taylor

Attorney at King & Spaulding, and represented Monsanto on labeling genetically modified food (earning hundreds of thousands of dollars)

FDA deputy Commissioner for Policy 1998-2000, oversaw their desicion to NOT label genetically modified food. :headscratch:

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Does this prove anything? No.

It's no coincidence that scientists in an industry move from regulatory agencies to companies and vice versa. After all, that is their area of expertise right?

The notion that they frivolously disregard the health of customers is just plain wrong. Why would you not want to keep people spending money on your products?

It doesnt PROVE anything, no. It STRONGLY POINTS towards a logical conclusion.

And to answer your last question, the safeguards cost money and take away from profits, thats why, if it wasnt obvious as hell.

---------- Post added June-3rd-2011 at 12:16 PM ----------

Yes I have.

But that's about the meat packing industry in the US, not the produce industry in the EU.

So, your point is...?

The article is about what happens here. Read the 2nd paragraph again: "If the bacterium were to contaminate fruits or vegetables grown here, there would be no way to prevent an outbreak, because farmers and processors are not required to test for the pathogen before the food heads to supermarkets."

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Regulators are always a step behind on this stuff. Not because there is a vast conspiracy of insiders blah blah blah, but because it always takes time to learn about, evaluate and respond to new developments.

Changing our entire regimen for evaluating the safety of fruits and vegetables would be a huge and expensive endeavor. We may decide that it is worth the expense, but it is not a decision to be taken lightly.

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I'm perplexed why anyone would want more mandates upon the food industry for e coli reasons. Its asinine.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/e-coli/DS01007/DSECTION=prevention

Prevention

By Mayo Clinic staff

No vaccine or medication can protect you from E. coli-based illness, though researchers are investigating potential vaccines. To reduce your chance of being exposed to E. coli, avoid risky foods and avoid cross-contamination.

Risky foods

Avoid pink hamburger. Hamburgers should be well-done. Meat, especially if grilled, is likely to brown before it's completely cooked, so use a meat thermometer to ensure that meat is heated to at least 160 F (71 C) at its thickest point. If you don't have a thermometer, cook ground meat until no pink shows in the center.

Drink pasteurized milk, juice and cider. Any boxed or bottled juice kept at room temperature is likely to be pasteurized, even if the label doesn't say so.

Wash raw produce thoroughly. Although washing produce won't necessarily get rid of all E. coli — especially in leafy greens, which provide many spots for the bacteria to attach themselves to — careful rinsing can remove dirt and reduce the amount of bacteria that may be clinging to the produce.

Avoid cross-contamination

Wash utensils. Use hot soapy water on knives, countertops and cutting boards before and after they come into contact with fresh produce or raw meat.

Keep raw foods separate. This includes using separate cutting boards for raw meat and foods such as vegetables and fruits. Never put cooked hamburgers on the same plate you used for raw patties.

Wash your hands. Wash your hands after preparing or eating food, using the bathroom or changing diapers. Make sure that children also wash their hands before eating, after using the bathroom and after contact with animals.

A little personal responsibility would go a long way. Problem solved, and free too.

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Regulators are always a step behind on this stuff. Not because there is a vast conspiracy of insiders blah blah blah, but because it always takes time to learn about, evaluate and respond to new developments.

Changing our entire regimen for evaluating the safety of fruits and vegetables would be a huge and expensive endeavor. We may decide that it is worth the expense, but it is not a decision to be taken lightly.

That would make sense if people havent been getting e coli food poisoning for years, but they have. E coli from vegetable is nothing new.Kevin's Law has been proposed every year since 2005, but the dead-kid lobby is not nearly as strong as the food industry lobby.

Yes, food costs would go up. It would be less than a penny on the dollar.

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That would make sense if people havent been getting e coli food poisoning for years, but they have. Kevin's Law has been proposed every year since 2005, but the dead-kid lobby is not nearly as strong as the food industry lobby.

Yes, food costs would go up. It would be less than a penny on the dollar.

There isnt any need for it.

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That would make sense if people havent been getting e coli food poisoning for years, but they have. Kevin's Law has been proposed every year since 2005, but the dead-kid lobby is not nearly as strong as the food industry lobby.

Yes, food costs would go up. It would be less than a penny on the dollar.

A penny on the dollar is not insignificant. I'm no libertarian, but there are times when the "dead-kid lobby" shouldn't get its way.

I'm not saying that this is one of those cases, I am not taking a position either way.

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A penny on the dollar is not insignificant. I'm no libertarian, but there are times when the "dead-kid lobby" shouldn't get its way.

I'm not saying that this is one of those cases, I am not taking a position either way.

#1, i said LESS than a penny on the dollar, not A penny on the dollar. I guess i should have used fractions? :whoknows:

#2, im not liberal that thinks more government is the solution to all out problems. I think it should only do a few specific things. Keeping the food supply safe is one of those things because the companies that are in charge of the food supply have very little incentive not to cut these corners. Do they? In fact, they have a huge incentive to get people to eat more processed foods for the most part.

And it's getting worse and more common. II dont want eating to be like playing a game of russian routlette with my kidneys. Think about it, per the article 500 people got an untreatable and life-threatening kidney ailment.....and they arent even sure WHICH ongoing outbreak it came from.

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