Monday, October 06, 2003

OIG report reams USDA on Greeley/ConAgra recall [DenverPost | report (pdf)]:
The Colorado slaughterhouse found contaminated meat at least 63 times in the weeks before 18.6 million pounds of beef was recalled last year.

The USDA's Food Safety & Inspection Service did not look at tests -- done by ConAgra -- that showed meat contaminated with E. coli bacteria. Because of its policies, the USDA believed it did not have the authority to review those tests. The USDA can only act on tests it conducts, not those done by the plant. Prior to the recall, ConAgra was exempt from USDA tests and conducted its own checks for E. coli. Investigators found, however, that the plant did not review its policies for preventing contamination after E. coli-laced meat was found repeatedly from April 8 through July 29, 2002. Between May 30, when the contaminated beef was produced, and June 30, when the recall was announced, ConAgra found E. coli nearly three dozen times.

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