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The New York Times reports that five Democratic lawmakers want the US department of Agriculture (USDA) to investigate the ConAgra Beef Company, charging that “the company was aware, several weeks before alerting the government and touching off a huge beef recall last summer, that its beef products contained strains of the E. coli pathogen.

ConAgra has denied any lack of compliance with food safety requirements.

The NYT reports, “According to federal meat inspectors' documents obtained by the legislators, independent beef inspectors detected E. coli O157:H7 in ConAgra's beef trim — the fat and scrap pieces of meat used to make ground beef — during routine testing in mid-May, well before the July recall. Then, during several one-week periods beginning in late May and stretching into late June, ConAgra received 33 positive results in E.coli tests on its meat products, the documents said.”

USDA said it is looking into the legislators’ concerns.
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