Why wait for government; Beef Products Inc. to hold and test for 6 non-O157 E. coli

According to a press release, Beef Products, Inc. (BPI), the world’s leading producer of lean beef, has announced that the company is expanding its food safety program by testing for an additional six pathogenic forms of E. coli.

The new policy is part of the company’s hold-and-test quality assurance program through which BPI samples its lean beef prior to sale, holds the lean beef, and tests for the presence of pathogens. Only after determining the test results are negative will beef be sold or used for raw ground beef.

Craig Letch, BPI’s Director of Quality Assurance, said "BPI led the hold and test initiative and has applied its own rigorous program for more than 15 years, and we are now expanding our testing even further to include testing for these other potentially harmful bacteria."

"Our goal is to provide the safest and highest quality beef. Using newly available testing methods, we are able to add tests for these additional STECs beyond O157:H7, which will help us further ensure the safety and quality of our lean beef and that consumers are better protected from potential exposure to these harmful pathogens."

"With the test methods still developing for these six strains, the recent situation in Europe convinced us that it was time to add tests for these other potentially harmful pathogens now," said Letch. "While this additional testing will add significantly to the cost of BPI’s current hold and test program, our decision to voluntarily start this.

Will the results be public?