USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) published preliminary data on the first six months of the Beef and Veal Carcass Baseline Survey, and it states that the percentage of all pathogens decreased from post hide removal to pre-chill. FSIS launched a 12 month survey to collect samples at two points in the slaughter process. This data is being used to estimate national prevalence of select pathogens, assessment of the slaughter dressing procedures, and development of performance guidelines.
The pre-chill numbers are measured after all anti-microbial interventions. For instance, the carcasses had a 25.49% positive test for Salmonella after hide removal, but only 3.92% positive at pre-chill. E. coli O157:H7 was positive for 1.60% of samples at the post-hide removal stage, but 1.07% pre-chill.
The report concludes, “these results suggest that the interventions are reducing the pathogens on the beef and veal carcasses.” But the results showed that beef has a higher percentage of Salmonella positive tests at post-hide removal than veal, while veal has a higher percent of non-O157 STEC positives at post-hide removal than beef.