USDA has released data on initial testing for six non-O157:H7 strains of E. coli in beef conducted since June 4. Of 110 samples of beef trim that have been tested, three were found to be positive.
The results chart published this week shows that those three positive results represented the O45, O103 and O145 strains.
USDA has turned up no positives for the O26, O111 and O121 strains.
USDA did follow up testing on five raw ground beef samples and confirmed one as positive.
All told, four of 115 samples were found to be contaminated, making for a 3.48 percent positive rate.
Meanwhile, none of the six samples USDA tested from imported product tested positive.
FSIS test results for the “Big Six” non-O157 STECs so far represent only samples of beef manufacturing trimmings from cattle slaughtered on-site on or after June 4.
“The results of FSIS testing for non-E. coli O157:H7 STECs in raw ground beef components confirms industry concern about the expansion of the E. coli O157:H7 policy to include this group of pathogens,” Kansas State University Regent’s Distinguished Professor of Food Safety and Security Jim Marsden told Meatingplace, noting the 3.48 percent positive rate compares to the 0.67 percent positive rate for E. coli O157:H7 in 2011.
“There doesn’t appear to a corresponding number of cases and outbreaks associated with these pathogens.
This may be due to low reporting, but also may suggest that the non-E. coli O157:H7 STECs are not as virulent as E. coli O157:H7,” said Marsden.
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