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U.S. To Ban More E. Coli Strains

The U.S. government is expected to ban the sale of ground beef contaminated with six types of the E. coli bacteria that can cause serious cases of food-borne illness, food-safety and industry groups said.

So far, one type of E. coli, 0157: H7, is banned as an adulterant, the result of an outbreak of illness in 1944 from undercooked hamburgers. The other types of E. coli, 026, 011, 045, 0121, 0103 and 0145, known as the big six for their role in causing illness, would also be banned from ground beef under USDA s plan.

The American Meat Institute, which represents packers, opposed the action and said few U.S. illnesses are attributed to the six bacteria.

USDA would be wiser to focus on technology to reduce occurrence of the bacteria rather than to spend millions of dollars to test for it, AMI said in a statement.

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