The U.S. will be boosting species tests of imported meat products imported from Iceland, Ireland, Poland and the United Kingdom, according to a new USDA directive. The testing comes in the wake of a widespread scandal where horse meat has been found in beef products throughout Europe. In addition, inspectors will increase tests of all imported raw ground beef or veal, including products that already are being tested for certain Shiga toxin-producing E. coli bacteria that can cause serious illness, reports NBC News.
“We are confident that the inspection system at ports of entry ensures the safety of products that come into our country every day,” said Catherine Cochran, a spokeswoman for the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. “However, in response to recent events and consumer concerns, we are increasing species testing to enhance current safeguards and prevent fraudulently labeled products from entering the country.”
Previously, species testing had been performed only when there was a reason to question a shipment. None of the countries implicated in the horse meat scandal import beef to the United States, but USDA officials say increased scrutiny recognizes that those countries are part of a global food supply chain.
Source: NBC News