We’ve been reading through some of the written comments the United States Department of Agriculture received in conjunction with the big April meeting on E. coli 0157:H7.

We found a letter from Dr. Harry F. Hull,  a pediatrician from St. Paul, most interesting.  Dr. Hull’s career highlights includes stints as state epidemiologist for both Minnesota and New Mexico.  He’s both investigated outbreaks of E. coli 0157:H7, and as a pediatrician had the experience of having a 7-year old girl in his care die from hemolytic uremic syndrome from E. coli.

We are certain every court in the land would stipulate Dr. Hull as an expert witness.

So, we found this really eye-opening:   After going though the contamination rates, Dr. Hull makes this bold assertion:

"Simply put, at the present time, 1 in every 400 pounds of ground beef contains potentially deadly E. coli bacteria."

Dr. Hull says current approaches will reduce but "cannot eliminate" all E. coli contamination.

"Given the potentially disastrous consequences of eating just one hamburger contaminated with E. coli, the only level of contamination that is acceptable is O.  This is what the American people expect and deserve," the pediatrician writes.

Dr. Hull, currently a consultant in infectious disease epidemiology,  favors irradiation of all ground beef sold as an uncooked product, labeling it as pasteurized, USDA approval of the ready-to-eat petition, and a public information campaign on the safety of food radiation.