For anyone who’s been terrified, grossed out or otherwise disturbed by the horsemeat scare over yonder in Europe, take heart: After assuring U.S. consumers that we’re not facing the same tainted food scenario, federal regulators are pledging to ramp up “species testing” on imported meats just to be absolutely sure Mr. Ed doesn’t land on the dinner table.
NBC News cites a new U.S. Department of Agriculture directive issued this week that says inspectors will be ramping up tests of meat products coming into the country from Iceland, Ireland, Poland, the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.
All tests of imported raw ground beef or veal will also increase, including products that are already tested for a toxin that produces E. coli bacteria.
“We are confident that the inspection system at ports of entry ensures the safety of products that come into our country every day,” said Catherine Cochran, a spokeswoman for the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. “However, in response to recent events and consumer concerns, we are increasing species testing to enhance current safeguards and prevent fraudulently labeled products from entering the country.”
None of the countries involved in the European horsemeat scandal currently export beef to the U.S., but the USDA just wants to make sure everything is on the up and up, as we’re all part of a global supply chain.
Before this directive, the USDA usually only conducted species testing on meat when there was a reason to suspect something was amiss with a shipment.