Government considering for several years
During the last few years, the federal government has considered whether to take action to stop the spread of E. Coli bacteria through the food suppliers. Recently, the epidemic of this deadly disease has created panic in several parts of the world. However, the government has still not passed any regulations to curtail the spread of these bacteria.
Food companies taking action
Seeing the inaction of the government, two of the largest food companies in the USA, Costco Wholesale, and Beef Products, Inc. are taking their own initiative to stop the spread of this disease. The companies are taking steps within their plants to ensure that the food does not become contaminated with these bacteria.
In the previous month, Costco instructed its suppliers of bagged products to test the items for broad range of toxic E. Coli bacteria. These products include salad greens and mixes, slices of apple, and baby carrots. In addition, the company has plans to test the ground beef that is sold at its warehouses. Costco has a unit in Tracy, California, which supplies hamburger and beef trimmings. The food safety director, Mr. Craig Wilson, mentioned that from the following summer, the company plans to ask its suppliers of the trimmings to undertake a broad range test for the E. Coli bacteria.
Beef Products initiative
The Company has commenced testing its products for the six rarer forms of the disease at one of its five units. In addition, the four remaining units would soon commence the tests as soon as the testing kits were received. Some manufacturers are producing test kits that can detect the traces of the six E. Coli bacteria, which are now commercially available.
Six rare forms of the disease
Food products and beef industries until recently focused only on the single O157:H7 bacteria strain. However, several health experts have identified six rare forms of food related spread of the disease. One such incident was the outbreak of the deadly disease last year that was caused due to the tainted romaine lettuce. Another rare form of the disease O104:H4 that was traced in tainted sprouts was the cause for another outbreak. Every type of E. Coli shows different characteristics, which makes testing a challenging difficulty. Several measures are being adopted by food companies and testing the products is the only method to determine the effectiveness of these measures.