Stats Show Safety Level of School Bound Beef

Stats Show Safety Level of School Bound Beef

Specs for school foods exceed those for general food chain.

USDA reports since 2005 only one confirmed case of E. coli 0157:H7 in ground beef going into the school lunch program. AMS specifications require that all affected product be diverted from USDA contracts while testing is conducted. During the same time period, the Agricultural Marketing Service reports 36 positive findings of E. coli from tests conducted on raw product before it was ground going into the general food chain.

USDA's Caleb Weaver points out that USDA-provided foods represent as much as 20% of all food served in school meals, and USDA specifications for these foods often exceed those for commercial-grade products.

The American Meat Institute has asked USDA to require companies to control product tested by the Food Safety and Inspection Service until the test results confirm its safety. Opponents of such a measure have argued that waiting for lab results would reduce the shelf life of product. Others, mainly small independent operators, argue it would complicate their ability to fulfill same-day orders.

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