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USA Today reports that New Jersey’s Topps Meat Company “has expanded a recall of frozen hamburgers to 21.7 million pounds of patties because they may be contaminated with a deadly type of E. coli, making it the second-largest ground beef recall in U.S. history.”

According to the story, “The boxed, frozen hamburgers were distributed to retail grocery stores and food service institutions throughout the USA. The company believes most have already been eaten, it said on its website, but emphasized that it is ‘imperative that consumers look for these products in their freezers,’ and if they find them, dispose of them immediately.”

And, USA Today suggests this morning that the additional recall “is bound to fuel concern that E. coli outbreaks may be on the rise in the USA's meat industry for the first time this decade.”

• The Washington Post this morning reports that “a consensus is building among government and food industry officials that the fix for the country's import safety system is likely to require better-targeted inspections, though not necessarily more of them,” though “the idea that inspections need not be increased has been challenged by consumer advocates and those in Congress who have proposed a series of reforms to the food safety system, including importer fees and consolidated oversight under a single agency.”

• The Star Tribune reports that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investigating a charge that Target Corp. sold conventional milk as “organic” between late 2003 and early 2007. The milk was provided to Target by Boulder, Colo. -based Aurora Organic Dairy, which has had its organic certification threatened by the USDA because of what are called “14 willful violations” of organic rules.

• The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that “with prices for corn syrup and other ketchup ingredients going up faster than Heinz can raise its own prices, the Pittsburgh-based condiment king is overhauling its breeding operations to help compensate. Heinz is developing sweeter tomatoes that could cut down on its need for corn syrup, as well as varieties that resist disease, stay fresh longer and produce a thicker consistency.”
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