USDA Finds Major Problems with Toxins in Meat Supply

Friday, April 16, 2010

Consuming beef in the United States comes with the risk of ingesting toxins because of cracks in the federal government’s meat inspection system. In a new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the inspector general said there is a “growing concern” related to the safety of the meat supply. There also was a call for better coordination among the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration to help alleviate the current danger.

One big problem cited by the IG is the fact that the FSIS has not established thresholds for many dangerous substances, including copper and dioxin, as well as nearly two dozen pesticides. As a result, federal meat inspectors are approving beef with harmful contaminants.
The same beef, however, can’t make it south of the border. David Acheson, former FDA associate commissioner for foods, pointed out that Mexico refused a shipment of U.S. meat because it contained unacceptable levels of copper, while nothing in the American inspection system prevented the very same meat from making its way onto U.S. tables. “That certainly is totally unacceptable in my book.” he told ABC News.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Report Says Contaminated Meat Is In Supermarkets (by Ron Claiborne, Dan Childs and Hanna Siegel, ABC News)
FSIS National Residue Program for Cattle (U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General) (pdf)


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