Monday, July 16, 2012

E. coli in Ground Beef - FSIS Data and Risk

USDA-FSIS recently updated their data on E. coli O157:H7 in ground beef and trim through July 8, 2012 (  In order to get a visual representation of the risk associated with ground beef, the year-end results were plotted.  Only routine samples were evaluated for ground beef (both federal plant and retail).  Based upon this sampling, E. coli O157:H7 is found in approximately 0.1% to 0.2% of ground beef samples.

This rate is a lower than the percent positive found in trim (beef trim that goes into ground beef).  For 2011, trim verification yielded a 0.64% positive and thru 7/2012, 0.53%.

The results indicate that interventions put in place by the meat industry have had an impact in reducing the level of E. coli in ground beef, however, from a consumer's perspective, careful handling and preparation is required.  Specifically, cleaning hands and food contact surfaces when handling and preparing, and cooking to the proper internal temperature of 160ºF.

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