USDA reports results of increased E. coli testing


By Janie Gabbett on 7/23/2008


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USDA has more than tripled testing for E. coli O157:H7 in raw ground beef components this year, but so far, results have shown a decrease in the percentage of results testing positive for contamination compared to a year ago.

Raw ground beef components

In its Constituent Update newsletter, USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service said as of July 13, the agency has analyzed 979 samples of raw ground beef components from federally inspected plants, of which three, or 0.31 percent, tested positive for E. coli O157:H7. This compares to 242 samples analyzed by this time last year, when two tested positive, or 0.83 percent of those sampled.

The agency tested 290 samples of imported raw ground beef components, compared to no such testing last year. The tests yielded no positive samples.

Raw ground beef

FSIS said so far this year it has analyzed 6,264 samples of raw ground beef, of which 18 tested positive, or 0.29 percent. That compares to 6,174 samples by this time last year when 14 samples tested positive, or 0.23 percent.

FSIS boosted its testing of raw ground beef at retail stores to 241 samples so far this year versus 101 by this time last year. So far, no samples have tested positive this year or last year. The sampling was conducted at stores that grind their own trim or mix irradiated and non-irradiated beef.

Individual positive results for 2008 are reported on the FSIS Web site.


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