Australia says it's tightened the meat inspection program, and worked with companies to reduce contamination.

The Washington Post reports that 11 shipments were detected at US ports, contaminated with animal faecal matter that can potentially carry e-coli and lysteria bacteria.

The detections, by food safety inspectors at US ports, occurred over the past two years.

The Australian Department of Agriculture says the spate of contamination problems had nothing to do with the introduction of the new meat inspection system two years ago, but rather heavy rain in Queensland, and pressure on meat processing companies.

"The Department of Industry worked thereafter very closely to identify exactly what those events were that would increase risks in relation to port of entry detection by the FSIS (US Food Safety Inspection Service)," said Greg Read, first assistant secretary of DAFF's food division.

"And for the companies then to develop their systems in a way to mitigate those risks to the full extent possible."

So far this year there have been four detections, the last one in June.

"We've substantially tightened the system from early 2012 through to now, and we're going to continue work with industry to ensure that we ... minimise these port of entry events," Mr Read said.

"But you've got to realise there's a lot of product going to the United States. They do a lot of sampling of products, and they are looking for a speck on the product."


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