-Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Ranking Member on the Labor, Education, Health, and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee, issued the following statement praising the U.S. Department of Agriculture's implementation of expanded testing for six additional strains of E. coli.
"The science is clear on the risk that these pathogens present to the health of American consumers and today's implementation is a critical step forward for our food safety system. I am glad that, because of this expanded testing, Americans will finally be better protected from these deadly pathogens."
Since 1994, when the USDA declared E. coli O157:H7 an adulterant (a harmful substance that is unsafe for human health), additional serotypes of E. coli have been identified as serious threats to the public health. Congresswoman DeLauro, an ardent food safety advocate, urged the USDA to issue a strong rule identifying the additional types of E. coli as adulterants in order to strengthen our food safety system and protect consumers from these pathogens. In September, 2011, the USDA announced that it would declare these six additional strains of the E. coli bacteria "adulterants" and expand testing for them. Implementation of that announcement was delayed by three months, but testing will begin today.