USDA has already denied industry requests to postpone implementing new policies around testing for six non-O157:H7 Verotoxin-producing E. coli (VTECs), but industry groups as well as trading partners continue to request an extension, according to the North American Meat Processors Association.  NAMP’s position is that USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has not adequately addressed the impact on small and very small plants, and that the agency’s determinations about the six additional strains are not in line with its risk profile. The American Meat Institute has echoed similar concerns. NAMP also points to concerns voiced by trading partners such as Australia and New Zealand, as well as the Meat Import Council of America, which question the impact of the new policy on beef imports and whether it will create an impediment to overseas suppliers and discourage exports to the United States.  FSIS has extended its public comment period on the policy by a month to Dec. 21 and held a public meeting on the issue.  The Canadian government is working to ensure that Canadian companies meet the same standards when the new USDA policies go into effect.

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