The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today that it is launching a 12-month Nationwide Beef and Veal Carcass Baseline Survey (B-VCBS) to sample establishments that slaughter and process beef and veal carcasses. During this survey, FSIS will collect samples from the carcasses of steers, heifers, cows, bulls, stag, dairy cows and veal, including heavy calves, bob veal and non-formula fed and formula fed veal. Samples will be collected at two locations in the slaughter process, immediately after hide removal (pre-evisceration) and at pre-chill (after all anti-microbial interventions). Overall, approximately 4,000 samples will be scheduled.

This study will provide FSIS the data on percent positives and quantitative levels of select foodborne bacterial pathogens Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7, non-O157 Shiga-toxin producing E. coli (STEC) and levels of indicator bacteria, including total bacteria (aerobic plate count), generic E. coli, coliforms and Enterobacteriaceae. Data obtained from B-VCBS will be used for the estimation of the national prevalence of the select pathogens, assessment of slaughter dressing procedures and process control, development of performance standards, and for other policy considerations.

The study design and sampling plan for B-VCBS have been posted here. The Baseline Data can be found here.

The shakedown phase (training period) of this study runs from January 2014 and will last approximately 90 days. During the shakedown phase of this study, FSIS will accept comments from all stakeholders on the study design and sampling plan via Based on stakeholder input, FSIS will consider adjustments to the final study design and sampling plan. During this phase, FSIS will prepare its personnel for the actual study, further refine the eligibility of the beef and veal carcass slaughter plants for inclusion in the study, and identify necessary modifications to the survey, analytical methods and study design before conducting the actual 12-month survey.

The FSIS Notice for the shakedown portion of the survey is here.