Government efforts to minimize E. coli infection

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has launched several programs to protect the public from the risk of infection with disease-causing strains of E. coli, such as O157:H7. Its efforts include:

  • Sponsoring research to find ways to prevent cattle from carrying the bacteria, including efforts to develop a vaccine for cattle.
  • Developing improved methods of detecting the bacteria to keep them out of meat-packing plants.
  • Making the time and temperature controls in meat-processing plants more strict.
  • Requiring that all raw and partially cooked meat and poultry products have safe handling instructions on the package.
  • Requiring warning labels on unpasteurized fruit and vegetable juices.
  • Developing stricter regulations for fruit and vegetable juice processing.

In addition, state and local health departments are working with the USDA to decrease the number of outbreaks of infection and to limit the extent of outbreaks when they occur.

Last Updated: June 16, 2008

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