In a few moments I have the opportunity to speak at the PEW Charitable Trust and Center for Science in the Public Interest Conference on “managing the risk of foodborne hazard: STECs and antibiotic-resistance pathogens.” Here is some of the data that I will present based on retail ground beef studies that we have ben doing since 2008.

Phase 1

Testing done by the same lab on retail ground beef through 2008 found a total of 1216 retail ground beef samples were tested for the presence of STECs. Twenty-three samples were positive for non-O157 STEC strains. Serotypes included O26 (n=6), O103 (n=7), O113 (n=1), O121 (n=6) and O145 (n=3). All but the STEC isolate serotype O113 were Stx and eae positive.

Phase 2 and Phase 3 Final – Preliminary Final Results

We to have continued testing through 2009 and 2010. Results on 5070 tests have shown 301 presumptive positive and 96 confirmed for non-O157 STEC and 30 for the six non-O157 E. coli of concern by the CDC. – O26 (n=10), O45 (n=0), 0103 (n=11), O111 (n=1), O121 (n=6), and O145 (n=2). In addition we also tested the same 5070 samples Salmonella. 138 were presumptive positive and 86 were confirmed. We hope to have the full test results published soon.

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The prevalence of non-O157 STEC and Salmonella in the retail ground beef supply shows the need for public health agencies in the US to increase awareness regarding these pathogens. The data clearly show that clinical and public health laboratories should routinely screen human and environmental specimens for the presence non-O157 STEC.

  • These are valuable and important data, Bill. I hope you will publish them in a peer-reviewed journal, such as Food Microbiology, so that they will be widely available. Thank you for making the data collection possible.