The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have announced that the incidence of E. coli O157:H7 infection traced to ground beef products had significantly declined. CDC attributed the decline to the implementation of a new set of recommendations from the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service in 2002 and the beef industry’s subsequent enhancement of food safety systems, including testing and control measures.

It is true that since 2002, there has been a general decline in the number of E. coli cases traced to red meat, and an increase in the number of E. coli cases traced to fresh produce, namely bagged lettuce and spinach. But in the last weeks E. coli outbreaks traced to beef products have underscored the importance of continued efforts to protect the public from E. coli in meat.