The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) will hold a public meeting on Dec. 1, 2011, to discuss the implementation plans and methods for controlling non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) in raw beef products. The agency also announced the comment period, originally scheduled to end on Nov. 21, 2011, has been extended until Dec. 21, 2011.
The public teleconference will provide a forum for commenters to register formal comments on the implementation strategy FSIS expects to follow when FSIS begins verifying for the presence of the six new non-O157 Shiga-toxin producing E. coli on March 5, 2012.
On Sept. 13, 2011, FSIS announced it was taking action to prohibit from entering commerce ground beef, or its precursors, found to contain the E. coli serogroups O26, O103, O45, O111, O121, and O145. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identifies these particular serogroups of non-O157:H7 Shiga-toxin producing E. coli, or non-O157 STEC, as those responsible for the greatest numbers of non-O157 STEC illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths in the United States.