September 20, 2019

USDA Releases First Results for Non-0157 STEC Tests in Beef Trim

On June 4, 2012, the USDA started required testing of beef trim for six non-0157 shiga toxin-producing E. coli bacteria, commonly known as STEC bacteria. Today they released the first report on this new testing system. Those six bacteria, which include E. coli 026, 045, 0103, 0111, 0121, and 0145, cause more than 100,000 illnesses in the United States every year.

USDAOut of 110 analyses of raw ground beef in federal plants, three tested positive for the pathogens. Testing revealed the presence of E. coli 0145 in one sample, E. coli 0103 in 1 sample, and E. coli 045 in one sample. A follow-up RGBC positive test result was obtained for the E. coli 0103 bacteria. Testing also revealed the presence of E. coli 0157:H7 in four samples out of 115.

At this time, only beef manufacturing trimmings are testing for the non-STEC bacteria. Other components, such as cheek meat and head meat, are not being tested for E. coli 0157:H7 and the non-0157 STEC bacteria.

After a sample tests positive, personnel from USDA verified that the facility in question has validated their HACCP plans and are properly controlling for the bacteria. Government officials may need to assess dressing procedures and process controls at the plant. The facility may need to focus more on decontamination and antimicrobial treatments.

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