Up to 13 Australian shipments of contaminated meat have been rejected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture over the past year, according to a report late Thursday on Australian Broadcasting Corp.'s Lateline program.
The rejections included nine loads of mutton contaminated with feces while one load late last year was rejected because veterinary drug residues were found, it said.
Separately, the Australian department's biosecurity division said late Thursday it had recently received notification from U.S. authorities that ground beef in the United States had tested positive for Escherichia coli O157:H7 and that Australian beef had been implicated in the detection. Following tracing of the export consignment, it was confirmed that the implicated Australian product was found negative through the Australian E.coli O157:H7 testing program prior to export and complied with the relevant U.S. testing program, the Australian department said.
The United States is Australia's second largest export market for beef and its largest export market for lamb.
Meat and Livestock Australia Ltd. said in January that one of the "major hurdles for Australian exports to the U.S. in 2012" would be increased E.coli testing requirements.
Reprinted in part from Market Watch