US Farmers, Processors Not Required To Test for Deadly E. Coli Strain

"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.'"

Lyndsey Layton reports for the Washington Post June 2, 2011.


"E. Coli Outbreak Linked to Aggressive New Strain" (Der Spiegel)

"U.S. Calls Antibiotics Wrong Step on E. Coli" (New York Times)

"Outbreak Is New Form of E. Coli" (BBC News)

"New Strain Of MRSA Superbug Found in Cows" (BBC News)

"New Strain Of MRSA Superbug May Have Spread From Cattle To Humans" (Guardian)

"Scientists Announce Discovery of New Strain of MRSA" (Washington Post)

"New Form Of MRSA Found in Cows' Milk And Human Flesh Wounds" (London Daily Mail)

"Infections Often Tied to Food" (Wall St. Journal)

Source: Wash Post, 06/03/2011