USDA Makes Positive Move To Trace Contaminated Beef in Early Stages

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USDA Makes Positive Move To Trace Contaminated Beef in Early Stages

Markem-Imaje is always concerned about the ability of manufacturers to trace their products in order to protect consumer safety. As a leader in traceability systems, we were happy to learn that the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced that it will begin tracing beef products contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 back to the source of the contamination before reports of illness begin coming in. Every year, approximately 73,000 people become ill after consuming foods tainted with the foodborne bacteria. Beef is a common source of E. coli. Unfortunately, about 60 people lose their lives each year after eating foods that are contaminated with the bacteria. The FSIS (Food Safety Inspection Service) division of the USDA currently does not conduct an investigation to trace back to potentially contaminated foods unless there are reports of illness linked to a product. When the new policy takes effect, the USDA will take action when routine testing indicates the possibility of contamination, rather than waiting until illnesses are reported and results confirmed. According to Dr. Elisabeth Hagen, Secretary for Food Safety, the USDA will be taking action at the presumptive stage. She stated, "When we're talking about trace back, every minute counts." Caroline Smith DeWaal, director of food safety at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, urged that the USDA take the same steps for meats that are tainted with strains of Salmonella that are resistant to antibiotics. While she was pleased with the good news regarding E. coli, Smith DeWaal believes more action is needed when it comes to the meat industry and preventing illness. Now that the grilling season is in full swing, the consumption of beef will rise substantially. Hopefully there will be fewer cases of food poisoning this year when compared to recent years due to the USDA’s recent decision. At Markem-Imaje, we realize the impact that problems can have on manufacturers' reputations and brands. Traceability systems are essential in every industry, from foods and beverages to pharmaceuticals, toiletries, cosmetics and other goods. It is critical that companies are able to remove their products immediately from the supply chain when issues exist that could threaten public healthy or safety. We offer traceability solutions that meet and exceed the needs of manufacturers, helping you maintain customer trust and brand loyalty. Interested in a free demo? Call us at 1.866.263.4644!

January 10, 2014
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