USDA traces E. coli contamination to Australian processing plants

Posted on May 23, 2012

According to the results of an inquiry conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture, a possibly lethal E. coli contamination found in ground beef in South Carolina can be traced back to a meat processing plant in Australia. The Australian Department of Agriculture issued a statement in response to this conclusion, saying the contaminated meat in question, which has led to the recall of more than 6,000 pounds of ground beef, was tested by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service for signs of E. coli contamination before it was exported from the country. According to the Australian Department of Agriculture, the ground beef was found to be compliant with United States import requirements at the border. According to an article in a local South Carolina newspaper concerning this recall, the potentially contaminated beef was slaughtered and packaged in Australia, then shipped to southern meat processing plants where it was ground into mince before it was distributed to grocery stores and other food retail stores across South Carolina. More than 70 meat processing plants in Australia are certified by the United States Department of Agriculture to export meat into the country, but the Australian Department of Agriculture has not revealed which plants are being investigated for traces of the E. coli contamination’s origin. The Clayton processing plants in South Carolina have currently stopped importing beef from Australian slaughterhouses and packing plants.

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