AMERICANS INCREASE SEAFOOD CONSUMPTION
od in the United States grew an impressive 7.1% in 2002, topping 4.5 billion pounds of domestic and imported product, according to just-released statistics compiled by the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Per-capita consumption grew almost a full pound from 2001 figures, reaching 15.6 pounds. Of that, a record 11 pounds were fresh or frozen fish/shellfish, 4.3 pounds were canned and the remaining 0.3 pound were cured. Of the three, fresh/frozen showed the greatest consumption growth, up 0.7 pound, according to officials with NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service. Consumption of shrimp also achieved record consumption levels -- 3.7 pounds, they said.
FSIS DEFENDS CONAGRA BEEF RECALL ACTIONS
WASHINGTON -- The head of the Food Safety and Inspection Service stated that many recommendations contained in a report criticizing the agency's handling of the 2002 recall of 19 million pounds of ground beef produced by ConAgra are already in place and operating. Citing one example, Garry McKee, FSIS administrator, said "every plant in America that slaughters or processes beef products is subject to agency testing for E. coli 0157:H7." McKee noted that a 1998 program in place at the time of the recall, that exempted ConAgra and certain other meatpackers from testing for E. coli 0157:H7, was rescinded in September 2002, two months after the event. The report from the Office of Inspector General charged that FSIS and ConAgra ignored safe beef regulations.