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CONSUMER BRIEFS

Antibacterial Rinse Approved

October 27, 1995| Times Wire Services

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved Rhone-Poulenc Food Ingredients' Assur-Rinse for washing E. coli and other bacteria off beef during processing.

"This rinse allows beef processors to significantly reduce food-borne pathogens on beef in their processing plants before shipping to restaurants and grocery stores," said Bill Batjer, project director for Assur-Rinse.

Contamination of beef and poultry by E. coli and other bacteria has become a significant public health issue in recent years, with the appearance of regular news reports of consumers who fell ill after eating contaminated meat.

The issue attracted national attention in 1993 when two children died and hundreds of others suffered poisoning after eating undercooked hamburgers from Jack in the Box restaurants in the Northwest. As many as 20,000 cases of E. coli infection are reported annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

The rinse, used after evisceration and prior to chilling, eliminates up to 99% of the E. coli bacteria on beef during processing, the company said.

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