Stateside, a recall of beef contaminated with the deadly E.coli bacteria was expanded. And overseas, the British beef industry, which saw all its exports banned during the Mad Cow scare, has finally cracked open the last closed market across the channel
In 1999, the European Commission was satisfied that British beef was BSE-free. Despite the EU's nod, France held out until the French food agency certified its safety and the world court was poised impose a fine of more than $150-thousand per day.
Creuztfeldt-Jacob Disease (KRAUTZ'-feld YAK-ov), the human variant of B-S-E, has claimed the lives of more than 100 people.
Closer to home, Wisconsin-based Emmpak Foods, a division of Excel, has increased its recall of E. coli tainted beef from 416-thousand to 2.8 million pounds. The tainted product is suspected of making 40 people sick in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.
Emmpak, a supplier to restaurants, hotels and grocery stores, has one of the most sophisticated HAACP plans in the U.S., utilizing both a steam pasteurization cabinet and USDA-approved laboratory techniques. Even so, research scientists have compared the detection of E. coli to the equivalent of finding a needle in a haystack.
The grinding plant where the contaminated meat was discovered has been shut down. Emmpak is working with the USDA, which recently announced it would be toughening food safety policies, to re-open the plant.