Costco, Tyson, reach new deal on testing for dangerous E. coli

The N.Y. Times is reporting in tomorrow’s editions that retail giant Costco has struck a new accord on testing for the pathogen E. coli.

Costco’s food safety director and seemingly decent dude, Craig Wilson, said the company would begin buying beef trimmings for making hamburger from Tyson, one of the largest beef producers, after an agreement reached with Tyson this week that allows Costco to test the trimmings before they are mixed with those from other suppliers.

The United States Department of Agriculture has encouraged such testing as a way to make hamburger safer, but some of the largest slaughterhouses have resisted the added scrutiny for fear that one grinder’s discovery of E. coli will lead to expanded recalls of beef sent to other grinders, The New York Times reported Sunday.

Costco is one of the few large grinders to test ingredients for the pathogen as they arrive at its plant, and Mr. Wilson said Tyson had declined to sell trimmings to the company, citing its testing.

A Tyson spokesman has declined to respond to the accusation, but said that the company did not prohibit grinders from testing and that some of its customers did conduct some of their own testing, beyond the testing that Tyson performs.