Nation's Beef Supply Safest in the World, says U.S. Agriculture Official

WASHINGTON (AP) - A U.S. agriculture official says the nation's beef supply is the "safest in the world."

Richard Raymond's comments come after the recall of 21.7 million pounds of ground beef that may be contaminated with E. coli bacteria.

He told CBS's "The Early Show" that while an investigation of the Topps Meat Company Plant in New Jersey found inadequate safety measures, the government is on top of the problem.

He said the recall shows that Agriculture Department is "on the job."

The recall came after more than a dozen people in eight states fell ill, and several were confirmed as getting E. coli from Topps products.

Raymond says consumers should make sure they don't have any of the recalled beef. It includes all Topps products that have either a "sell by" or "best if used by" date between September 25th of this year and September 25th of next year.

Topps says it has now augmented its procedures with the help of food safety experts and microbiologists.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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