||Food Safety and Inspection
United States Department of Agriculture
Washington, D.C. 20250-3700
Key Facts: HACCP Final Rule
Key Facts: USDA's Food Safety Accomplishments Since 1993
Since a major outbreak of foodborne illness in several western states in 1993
attributed to the presence of the pathogenic bacterium E. coli O157:H7 in ground
beef, the Clinton administration, through USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service
(FSIS), has focused on the design and implementation of a science-based food safety
strategy to reduce the risk of illness caused by bacterial contamination of meat and
USDA actions since the outbreak of foodborne illness in western states in January 1993
include the following:
- Initiated unannounced reviews at 1,000 meat and poultry plants nationwide to enforce
intensified zero tolerance requirements for fecal contamination on beef products.
- Required safe handling and cooking instructional labels on raw meat and poultry
- Introduced a strategy to change meat and poultry inspection from command and control
supervision of industry to system that prevents hazards to the food supply from the farm
to the table.
- Declared the bacterium E. coli O157:H7 an adulterant in raw ground beef and
initiated a nationwide sampling program in federally inspected plants and retail stores
that process ground beef.
- Prepared a regulation to overhaul the USDA food safety system by requiring the mandatory
implementation of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point systems and testing for
bacteria in plants that slaughter and grind meat and poultry for distribution as raw
- Accelerated the review of requests for trials of technologies designed to improve food
safety in meat and poultry plants.
- Initiated review of process controls used for fermented dry sausage and recommended
revisions to industry's Good Manufacturing Practices following an outbreak of E. coli
O157:H7 linked to the product.
- Increased funding for food safety research, including the development of methods to
detect and enumerate E. coli O157:H7.
- Elevated food safety responsibilities in a new sub-Cabinet Office of the Under Secretary
for Food Safety.
- Established an FSIS liaison at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta
to assist in tracking foodborne illness trends and causes and established an Epidemiology
and Emergency Response Program to investigate foodborne illness outbreaks in conjunction
with CDC and the states.
- Initiated an agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food
and Drug Administration to conduct sentinel site surveys at five locations in the United
States. The study will provide much needed baseline data regarding the incidence of
foodborne illness, attributable to consumption of meat, poultry and other foods. The study
will provide measures for better estimates of the incidence of foodborne illness and
provide a baseline to assess the impact of new food safety initiatives.
- Developed public information programs and educational materials such as videos and
compact discs for radio stations about safe food handling, targeting specific audiences
such as school children, day care centers, pediatricians, fast food restaurant workers,
senior citizens, and state and local health departments. Also provided information kits to
food and health page editors, magazine editors throughout the country.
- Identified more than 400 pages of burdensome and unnecessary regulations as candidates
for elimination or change so that inspectors and plants could focus resources on food
For Further Information Contact:
- Media Inquiries: (202)
Inquiries: (202) 720-3897
- Constituent Inquiries: (202)
- Consumer Inquiries:
Call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-800-535-4555;
in the Washington, DC area, call (202) 720-3333; TTY:
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