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USDA Considers New Food Safety Rules


Guidelines meant to prevent E. coli outbreaks in spinach and other leafy green vegetables.

Westmont, NJ, September 15th, 2009

In 2006 an Escherichia coli (E. coli) outbreak of contaminated spinach killed three people and cost the spinach industry close to $80 million in lost sales. The outbreak also sickened another 200 people and has lead to a new industry proposal to prevent future outbreaks.

The rules would enforce safe standards for producing, handling and inspecting leafy green vegetables across the nation. The next phase in the proposed regulations is for federal food safety professionals to hold public hearings about the proposal to gauge public support.

E. coli is a Gram negative bacterium that is commonly found in the intestines of mammals. Their ability to survive outside of the body makes them a threat to our food supply. Several strains of E. coli can produce lethal toxins, as was the case with the deaths from the 2006 spinach outbreak.

When undercooked or unwashed vegetables, fruits or meat are consumed a person can become infected with extreme gastrointestinal illness, urinary tract infections and even pneumonia. Although all individuals are susceptible to E. coli infections it appears that the young, elderly and immuno-compromised are at greatest risk. Infections commonly take days to appear, making it that much more difficult to determine the source of an E. coli outbreak.

EMSL Analytical, a leading food and consumer products testing laboratory, has been on the forefront of offering food testing services to the general public and industry for years. “E. coli outbreaks are not only potentially deadly, but they also have an enormous financial impact on the food industry,” stated Joe Frasca, Executive Vice President for EMSL Analytical, Inc. “Testing for E. coli and other microorganisms is essential for safeguarding the public and keeping the food industry productive and safe.”

A ‘Foodborne Illnesses’ poster is currently available from EMSL’s website. To learn more about E. coli or other food safety testing services contact EMSL Analytical at (800) 220-3675, visit or email

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a leading, national provider of environmental, consumer products and materials testing services and products to professionals and the general public. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.


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