Where E. Coli Control Works

By now, we have all read the New York Times article “E. Coli Path Shows Flaws in Beef Inspection”
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/04/health/04meat.html?_r=1&th&emc=th
and the long string of resulting commentary. The article again raises the question of effective safety and quality management in the ground beef supply chain.

One program that has shown consistent success in controlling food safety has been the USDA AMS ground beef purchasing system for the National School Lunch Program. The program actively uses methods that have been developed over the years in industrial supply chain quality management notably vendor certification, process control and active auditing.

The result of this program is that since 2003, the first year using these methods, they have never delivered ground beef to the school kids that tested positive for E. Coli O157H7.

You can read about the program at: http://www.nwasoft.com/appnotes/usdagrbeef.htm
and see videos clips from the Feast or Famine” program which featured the NSLP food safety system at: http://www.nwasoft.com/appnotes/feastfamine.htm .

The system that the NSLP developed has one of the best records in the industry. The food industry should adapt the elements of this program into their food safety efforts.

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