Where's the beef? DeLauro wants consumers to know where it came from

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, who represents a part of Shelton, is praising a proposed U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) rule that would require raw ground beef makers to keep records on where the beef comes from.

In the event of a food-borne illness outbreak, DeLauro said, this would ensure investigators can trace meat back to its source, speeding up the recall process.

“We must do more to address the dangers American families face on a daily basis from the hidden killer of food-borne illness,” she said. “This proposed rule is a good step, and if implemented in its current form, will allow USDA to recall products more quickly.”

‘We’re talking about people’s lives’

“This is crucial during an outbreak when speedy notification can keep people from becoming ill, or even dying,” said DeLauro, a Democrat in her 12th term. “We are not talking about roads or parks. We are talking about people’s lives. Nothing is more important.”

Grocery stores and other retail establishments currently are not required to document and maintain supplier information, according to a release from DeLauro’s office.

DeLauro has long been active in food safety issues and is a former chairman of the U.S. House subcommittee responsible for funding the USDA.

Wording of the new rule

The USDA’s proposed new rule reads in part: “The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is proposing to amend its record-keeping regulations to specify that all official establishments and retail stores that grind raw beef products for sale in commerce must keep records that disclose the identity and contact information of the supplier of all source materials that they use in the preparation of each lot of raw ground beef.

“They must also record the names of those supplied source materials, including any beef components and any carryover from one production lot to the next," it continues. "The records would also be required to document lot numbers, the amount of the beef component used in each lot (in pounds), the date and time each lot of raw ground beef product was produced, and the date and time when grinding equipment and other related food-contact surfaces were cleaned and sanitized.

“Official establishments and retail stores would also have to comply with the proposed record-keeping requirements with respect to raw beef products that are ground at an individual customer’s request," the rule reads.

Shelton has two members of Congress

The city of Shelton is divided between the Third Congressional District, represented by DeLauro, and the Fourth Congressional District, represented by fellow Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Himes.

DeLauro lives in New Haven and was first elected to Congress in 1990.