If it is the weekend, there is almost always something to read by Phil Brasher in the Des Moines Register.  In “Many beef cuts are never tested for E. coli,” Brasher reports that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is about to close the door on the sale of E. coli-tainted cuts of beef.

Brasher writes:

Processors are not allowed to sell ground beef that is tainted by E. coli because the product is considered most likely to carry the bacteria and pose the biggest risk to consumers.

But it’s perfectly legal to market whole cuts of beef that might be contaminated by E. coli, and the government doesn’t test them for the bacteria, either.

That could be changing. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is considering new regulations for the sale of steaks and other beef cuts, a move that officials in the meatpacking industry say is unjustified and unnecessary.

Richard Raymond, the USDA’s undersecretary for food safety, said he was shocked when he found out it was legal to sell E.-coli-contaminated beef. He said he is seeking a “practical solution” to “what I feel to be a gap” in USDA regulations. USDA has not proposed any specific measures.

Donna Rosenbaum, executive director of Safe Tables Our Priority, a consumer advocacy group, said it’s “way past time” for the USDA to take steps to prevent the sale of contaminated beef cuts.

“It takes such a small amount of this to make a person sick that putting the burden on consumers for controlling something that is that small to protect their children is just not right,” she said.

Go here for the entire Brasher story.