Department of Agriculture bans six more strains of E. coli

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The New York Times and MSNBC are reporting that federal officials added six new strains of E. coli bacteria — the Big Six, as it were — to the list of banned bacteria that meat packers are required to test for (starting next spring, that is).

This is, of course, after the country has experienced recall, after recall, after recall.

From the Times:

In recent years, however, scientists found that several other strains of E. coli in food were making people sick and they identified the six most potent, which were called the non-O57s or the Big Six.

The American Meat Institute, an industry group, was highly critical of the new policy. “Imposing this new regulatory program on ground beef will cost tens of millions of federal and industry dollars — costs that likely will be borne by taxpayers and consumers,” the group said in a statement. “It is neither likely to yield a significant public health benefit nor is it good public policy.”

On a personal level, let me just say I appreciate the AMI's concern for my budget, but I'd rather pay the extra 10 cents and skip the fun symptoms of the bacteria: painful cramps, bloody diarrhea and vomiting.

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