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For Immediate
Release:
May 25, 2000

For more information:
202/332-9110

  Judge’s Ruling in Texas Case Could Cause More Contaminated Meat to Reach Consumers
Statement of Caroline Smith DeWaal, Food Safety Director, Center for Science In the Public Interest

     “Judge Fish’s misguided decision in the Supreme Beef Processors v. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) case strikes at the core of the USDA's new program to improve meat and poultry products. The decision strips authority from the federal government to enforce limits on harmful bacteria in ground meat and poultry products and may cause contaminated ground beef to reach more consumers.

     “This decision leaves the shell but cuts out the heart of USDA’s efforts to prevent food poisoning. What is left is an industry honor system called HACCP with no accountability that the system actually works to reduce food borne bacteria. This decision erases years of progress and catapults us back to the days of sniff and poke inspection in beef grinders. It should be overturned quickly on appeal, or Congress should step in immediately to protect consumers by restoring enforceable limits on harmful bacteria in meat.”